Monday, March 09, 2015

Dance Yourself: MadJam 2015

Before I left the west coast swing event last weekend, I re-introduced myself to a guy I had danced with sometime after midnight the previous day. His name was Logan and he was from Singapore. He greeted me with, "I remember you! That dance was amazing! Truly amazing!" I agreed. It had been a memorable moment for me as well.

At the time, I could tell we were both relatively new at the dance. Technique was all over the place. But half way through the song, something clicked and we both lit up. We went from trying to do things correctly to really  dancing with each other. It wasn't anything that would have gotten us called back in a competition. But it was so cool. I've had trouble describing it since. It was a shift that happened for me this weekend at a number of points that just made me giddy. Both of us showed up in that dance and we were hitting all kinds of things in the music we weren't doing just a few bars before.

What happened? I think we suddenly were completely present. And not just present but engaged. There was a giving that happened and it was mutual and it meant that the dance was more fun than I can describe.

Logan said that he had never experienced musicality like that before. In another dance with another partner, I had a similar "shift", where something clicks on. He said while we were dancing "Yes! Dance yourself!"

I wish I had better and clearer language for this. It's an incredible moment when it happens. And it isn't about a rom-com "cute meet" on the floor. It's as much about finding this living space in oneself and then being able to dance that with someone else. I'm spending today mulling over what that "aha" moment means for me as a writer and creative. And it means a lot, I think.

All this was at MadJam, a west coast swing event in DC. It was attended by over 1000 people with participants from all over the world. I danced with folks from Canada, Singapore, France, and more. It was also the largest group we've taken from State College to go dance. "This weekend blew my mind" one dancer said.

It blew my mind too.

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