Take two

  • Posted on July 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

My weekend schedule is screwed. My Tesco weekly is deferred by two days, and I shall probably need to work half of Sunday too. That means a late walk on my own somewhere, then back to work. Why?

After my Chakradance workshop I worked out that Five Rhythms dance was a similar opportunity for me to do what I was already doing in my own space. But once more, down in Brighton the group was on Wednesday night, a popular night for everything, including band practices. I booked up a couple of other events in the autumn, again, not far removed from what I do. However, I then got invited over to Lewes Five Rhythms, and last night turned up to a new experience in dance. Well, almost everything is a new experience for me in dance. I sat out for 40 years at almost every disco, did the Gay Gordons when a reception demanded it, the odd skip at a Ceilidh, and even a few short weeks learning Lindy Hop. The one memorable event I have is when a girlfriend and I choreographed and performed a small dance when working at a community centre in Devon. That was a wonderful experience for me. None of those other forms are for me though, any more than I shall spend my time carefully crafting sonnets or sestinas. I write free verse and I dance free dance.

So for two solid hours, I and 30 others danced continuously, thoughtfully, mindfully, expressively. And sweated. I was in my element. After all these years, here was a room full of people who took my new self-discovery for granted. I think it did me a lot of good, so dance has to be part of my life now. Well, I’m not going to be invited to any parties any time soon, so I shall go and find dance. What can I do with it? Where can it take me? I don’t know, but it feels as essential as music and writing to me.

As I walked up the hill to the car afterwards, thankful for a warm night in my wet things, I was thinking how I got here. At 56 I was discovering things about myself that must have been latent all my life. At junior (primary) school, where we went in at doors engraved ‘boys’ and ‘girls’, I remember ‘being a tree’ or a butterfly or … Well, it was called music and movement, and I didn’t know I was dancing. After that I was plain awkward, and soon realised that I just didn’t do ‘bloke dancing’ at discos. But now? I was dancing, and wondering why I hadn’t been doing it all my life.

The feeling is one of release. First, no-one to ask permission if it was alright to skip Tesco and go off 20 miles to do some New Age thing with strangers. Second, no permission to get it wrong. What if I turned up and it was alien? But third, the freedom to discover myself and to set loose things that have been suppressed for all my life. No, it isn’t too late. The funny thing is, I never felt like I was the kid ‘trapped in the wrong body’, but I have lived all my adult life not expressing some innate and very deep aspects of self. This is release. This is the unspeakably awesome turning point of my life. This is a whole cage-full of white doves sent up into a blue sky and sunlight.

When the clapper-board of life comes down, and the action stops, and those you have been acting with retire to separate trailers and you are standing alone, you don’t expect it to come down again for ‘take two!’. I have been embedded in all I have lost, in terms of relationships, from family to friends who have simply withdrawn, and those who just don’t want me to get too close. And yet everywhere I go now, I find new acceptance, new welcome, and the most amazing inclusion in new things. Maybe, just maybe, someone will dare to get close, really close, and that first white dove will land and coo again.


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