Saturday, March 16, 2013

Scattered Thoughts on My Relationship With Dancing

courtesty of
1. The annual swing dance weekend Lindy on the Rocks happens in Denver soon. I had a very small role in the creation of this event in that I pushed the organizers as hard as I knew how to host a dance event in Denver that featured classes AND competitions. The inaugural LOTR was a big success and the event is now in its 9th year. I haven't attended in years and am nervous to go, but every year I really regret not going. I know I will be rusty and will almost certainly never reach the level of dance that I once held myself to, but I miss the dance, I miss the friends I made there, and most of all, I miss the music and the energy.

2. My facebook feed still leans heavily dance. Most days, my dance friends' posts make me smile. Unfortunately this one made me cringe.

This photo comes not from an anti pointe website but from the Pacific Northwest Ballet's facebook fan page. Dance owes much to ballet. Ballet was one of the first dance forms that allowed at least a few dancers to make their living as dancers. But ballet's legacy is also one of pain, especially for women. Even properly done, dancing "en pointe" leads to lifelong foot damage. This photo does not make me long to see ballerinas en pointe, beautiful though they may be. It makes me absolutely positive that if I have a daughter, that I'll expose her to every dance form except ballet.

For a long time I kept this quote on my computer:
“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.” ― Rumi
I always thought of it metaphorically. Photos such as the one above make me reconsider.

3. A few nights ago while volunteering at a screening of Girl Rising at the Denver Pavillions movie theater, a woman I didn't know recognized me and said, "Truman, you are a dancer!" She complimented my dancing and then went inside to watch the movie. As she walked away I was tempted to say, "You know I'm not really a dancer anymore," but as I stood there basking in my annual D rate celebrity recognition, I realized that even though I almost never dance these days, I will always view life through the lens of a dancer.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Daybreakers

It's been 15 months since I've written anything here. A few small things have happened since then (I got engaged, bought a house, had some work changes, etc) in that time. Perhaps I'll catch readers up at some point down the road.

Last night Amanda and I checked out Black and Read, a used music, book, and board game store in Arvada that is so overrun with geek memorabilia, it might soon appear on the tv show Hoarders.

As I walked down dusty aisles overflowing with books stacked behind boxes of more books, I came across a row of Louis L'Amour novels and was instantly transported back to my Grandma Margaret Turnbull's house in Kingsport, Tennessee, where as a child I read and reread the entire L'Amour catalog. These were some of the first adult books I remember discovering and although I wonder now if they would read as cliched as their covers appear, growing up I loved getting lost amidst high mesas and desperate situations.

To adolescent me, L'Amour's books were about heroes, hard men who were quick on the draw and even quicker to defend the honor of any man woman or child along the way. One of my favorites was Flint, about a dying man who moves back west to live out his last days in peace---until he gets caught up defending a beautiful rancher from land grabbers and assassins.

Discovering these books in my Grandma's basement was one of the first bonds I remember feeling with her. A stern seeming woman of few words, Grandma was my least favorite grandparent. Now she is the one I identify with the most. My father more than once said that Grandma was born too early, that had she been born in another time, she would have run a company rather than just served as bookkeeper for one. The older I get, the more I wish I could go back and build a stronger relationship with her; to know her as an adult. She has been dead nearly eight years so there's not much chance of that. These days I find myself thinking back to those few days each year in Tennessee, laying in bed in the near darkness before dawn, waiting for Grandma to walk down the hall and start a pot of coffee--the signal that another day could start. I'd creep downstairs too then, and with the rest of the family still abed, the two of us would sit in the kitchen reading westerns.