July 7, 2015

To Love a Dancer.

Flickr/Shannon: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sreese37/6827262605/in/photostream/

You may find that to love this dancer is a dilemma…

This dancer is an impassioned, restless being—swaying to claves, moving to teeth chattering, melting with the tilt of a rainstick.

She moves incessantly, to heal and change and grow.

She moves in her sleep and her legs twitch at dawn. Her heart longs for song and beat—rhythms that draw her closer to people and places and memories, like perfume.

She wishes to be drawn closer to you.

She awakes to the sound of a bell, a whistle, the hissing breaks of a garbage truck, the bicyclist ringing a bell while he sells plantains on the streets of San Juan.

She rolls over, puts her head on your chest and searches for your beat. She needs to know if she can live beside your heart’s song, as she feels the chill down her spine—like soft mallets sliding down a marimba.

Let her stay. Let her linger. Tell her—take your time.

She sits up in bed and takes her first morning steps. Her steps are hollow like a bass drum. She doesn’t know her place in the world and wonders if this day was choreographed and danced already, like déjà vu.

She feels the sunlight coming through the window and remembers the exhilarating heat of the spotlight on stage. She wishes you’d welcome her into your safe world, behind the curtain.

She wanders around to song and note silent to everyone but her. She mingles, naturally coquettish. You may mistake her confident, spontaneous ways as being destructive, but following the rules is soul crushing.

She moves throughout her day with kindness and compassion—as most dancers who understand body, spirit and humanity do. She offers all her spare change, and she caresses a baby’s face with her fingertips. Her love for others will not compete with her love for you.

Her love is limitless.

You may feel overwhelmed in her presence, but she already knows this.  She is sensitive to your feelings. Hypersensitive, because she is trained to care about steps, alignment, a gaze, a tilt in the head, but most importantly—fear in your eyes.

Tell her everything is okay, or not okay, but don’t stay quiet too long.

In the afternoon she asks you to feel and share your feelings.  She longs for your vulnerability. She is vulnerable. Only through this place of tender-heartedness is she able to find courage to walk on stage.

When the lights come on and she starts to move, she knows all of her ancestors put her here—something predisposed in her genetic makeup—she cannot escape, although she has tried.

She asks for you to observe—to watch, to embrace.

You do not need to dance, but you must understand her need to move daily. Let go of what you want with her and let her be.

At the hour of sunset, she stirs dinner in a pot the size of a steel drum. You love the way she cares for her figure—how she is judicial about what she puts in and on her body. But under that controlled façade of sculpted curves is a layer of crystal ready to crack—a heart shattered innumerous times, from feeling too much.

She disguises this with perfect posture and poise.

Whether you watch or participate, don’t tell her to dance less because you are afraid everyone is watching. You’re afraid you may lose her, but in that moment, you must put her first and say: Stand up, and do what you love.

And if you are able to hang on through the daily chaos of loving this moving, vibrating being…

She’ll ask you for space. She’ll ask you for time—a rest, a pause—one more measure to fill with musical notes.

She’ll ask for you to accompany her, to be her witness on this dancing journey.

She’ll ask you to be her beat, her song and her rhythm—her muse and her inspiration.

She’ll ask you to stay.


Relephant Read:

Make Love to an Artist.


Author: Ashley Martinez

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Shannon

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