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When I Get Low, I Get High

onewhowalks's picture

Blues dancing is one of the few situations I can think of in which touching heads means more than touching hips. My blues is often danced in closed position, legs staggered and hips glued together, each note of music traveling into the ears, pooling in the soul and extending out through pelvis and limbs. The closeness of the hips doesn't mean anything; it's just another way to make the dance more beautiful.

I can think of only five dances where my lead and I have let our cheeks and foreheads rest against each other. 

Last night, I pilgrimaged through Haverford, Ardmore, and central Philly to the Twisted Tail for a night of live blues music and dancing. "Church on Saturday, Blues on Sunday," someone would joke later that evening. 

Many dances into the evening, my new partner and I shared a gaze across the room as the beginning chords bellowed from the bass player onstage, and juked our way to meet at the center of the dance floor. "You've got to dance your way through!" a drunken frat bro would shout later, trying to navigate himself and his friends to the other side of our impromptu dancing area in the Harbor Park established deeper into the night. We exchanged names, found each other's palms and the beat of the music. A few measures in we discovered our bodies understood the music in the same way, and movements that sometimes required utmost concentration came organically, fluidly. In a good blues dance, the give and take is compassionate as you work in tandem to create the best dance possible for your partner and yourself. In a great blues dance, it's as if you're melding into one, pressing and releasing with such simultaneous force and tenderness that you stop dancing with each other and begin dancing as each other. Every move makes sense. Nothing requires thought: you simply lean into the dance and let yourself go. There's some unspeakable and natural reflection and connection rooted at the very core.

We inhaled as one. We exhaled as one. Physical tension flowed through our hands, the strength of pulling apart cementing our connection. Coming back together post-spin, our temples met and lingered. In that moment, I knew him, and he knew me. The song ended. We applauded the musicians with our hands and each other with our eyes, and parted ways.



calamityschild's picture

I loved reading this! Dancing is so much fun. You illustrated a beautiful moment!