I am struck by women who are no longer young. At the same time, startled by the beauty of their old faces. Lived, grooved and puckered as they may be, their hair grizzled; they make their glossy contemporaries at any senior center seem parodies of women. They show that they have lived and have not yet found the means to hide it. Their lotions have done well.
I wasn’t sure why I was there, but it was always a proud day or night when dancing is involved in any event.
It is not the kind of topic one usually pursues to write. There was no edge to it, no compelling plot, no dynamic change. Just a lot of golden seniors in bundles of accelerated energies, whirling, stomping and laughing, doing it right, doing it wrong — and doing it again — flinging themselves about with a guilt-free exuberance that was contagious.
The unbridled happiness was in contrast to the outside world, where violence burn like hot cinders. Adults their age live in fear…even hunger, who knows. Not that life is sweet for all these energetic dancers in the twilight of their lives. Opulence is no assurance to happiness and loneliness is a curse among the elders, but the total involvement required of dancing momentarily frees them from all that, as it frees realities that imprison them.
Everyone shared the floor as the DJ banged his music away. As the dancers threw themselves in the dance with unrestricted moves of magical creatures whirling in the wind. It was almost magical fun. It doesn’t attempt to encourage discipline, nor the pursuit of excellence through dancing, but self expression. Art is never wasted in the old, whether it is dancing, painting, singing, playing an instrument or simply jumping up and down in rhythm.
As we watched them on this sun drenched afternoon we begun to realize why we were there. A vague notion that had a existed in the first place, became clearer like a memory pressing in to focus. I wrote as I was projecting myself into moment. Dancing is intense, but joyful and there is a redemption as well as escape. Just like the ballet classes I once had with Ricardo Cassel, when I was ten and unhappy.
I’ve asked some of the participant why they were there. ”dancing makes me happy” was the simplified and collective reply.
Total and utter bliss is a rare human condition, often limited to a moment during childhood that begins to fade, when the world beyond dancing opens to growing, frought with peril.
At the end of the day, watching the glowing goldies, I had a clearer version of what the dancing meant….it afforded fantasies that took them to a place where no one hurts and everyone dances.
When their partners sweeps them in their arms, even their hearts dance.