The Bliss Blog

Love is a lot like dancing-you just surrender to the music. -Mary Oliver

This line grabbed me by the hand and beckoned me onto the dance floor. The times when I have most enjoyed cavorting have been when I have allowed myself to ‘be danced’ by the rhythm and lulled by the lyrics of songs meant to be lost in. I had taken a few ballet lessons one summer in my childhood. For whatever reason, my body could not flow as gracefully as those of the other girls in the class and although I did my utmost to move through the first through fifth positions, plie, releve and saute, I called it a day.

In Junior High School gym class, we learned square dancing and again, I was stymied about following along to a particular pattern. In adulthood, I joined friends who were passionate about contra dance which is done to world wide folk music. Two lines of people face each other and partners are changed up every few minutes. Breathtaking (literally) and fun, I still stumbled a bit. I took a Zydeco lesson and apologized for stepping on various patient partners’ toes, as we each laughed.

Last summer, I went to a Zydeco dance party sponsored by my favorite member supported radio station called WXPN. My friend Chris who is a Jazzfest officianado was there as well and as we moved to the music, he said, in exasperation tinged with humor, “Would you please let me lead?” I sighed and did my best.

Having grown up with parents who enjoyed dancing; with a father who made up in enthusiasm for what he missed out on in natural talent (same as with his singing voice), my mother would lead. I learned by example. I think it also had to do with the symbolic challenges I have faced with trusting a man to lead and be solid and strong enough in himself to guide me. Don’t get me wrong; I believe that a healthy and sustained relationship allows for both partners (whether same sex or mixed gender) to take charge  at times and follow their partner’s lead at others. It can feel exhausting to be ‘on’ all the time. In my marriage, I was the emotionally ‘strong one’, even as my husband was the more detail oriented get it done person. On the surface, it seemed as if he was in charge. I sense that he struggled with that role, but took it on, since I was more of a go with the flow kind of woman.

It reflected my favorite dance form, which is improvisational.  In the early 1980’s I found myself in a large room filled with people of all ages, who were colorfully arrayed in yoga clothes, tights, flowing fabric and sweats. The music, provided by instrumentalists and hand percussionists, encouraged a series of leader guided movements. Group Motion was founded by Manfred Fischbeck and Brigitta Hermann in 1970. It felt like home. I am sensing a desire to return since it has been several years since I have glided across that hardwood floor.

I welcome a partner with whom I can gracefully glide across the floor as we let love lead.


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