I am a mad dancer, a strange dancer. At times I feel I distract other dancers, I leap and gyrate so wildly. And then I meet my equal, my better.
When I dance, my feet move erratically. I skip, I jump, I wobble, I walk woodenly. To be honest, I do not fully know what I do: the music makes me do it. I get a runner's high that I believe is far more wonderful than a runner's high because you do not run -- you gyrate, you spin, you whirl, you dance yourself into a trance.
I am far from the only one who cannot explain the moves he makes while the music is playing. When the music makes me move, I do not move the way somebody told me to -- except perhaps the someone who is hidden inside me -- until the music draws him out.
"I,"-- whoever that conscious being is -- I get lost in the music. But it is not about me that I wish to talk -- it is about those who encounter me and do even more than I do -- and I burst out laughing, as I sometimes see others burst out laughing at me.
At a dance camp recently a group of four of us were doing a move called a hey. In that move, all four people pass by each other -- pass by up close and very personal as they weave in and out in a kind of a figure eight pattern. Suddenly in the middle of this move called a hey, I see no one there -- where is the fourth member of this group who is supposed to lock eyes with me as we pass by? Suddenly I see him crawl by knee level high. He is so supple he can crouch way down, crawl along at knee level hight. I cannot stop a guffaw, an appreciative ripple of laughter. I am startled, pleased, amused: enormously entertained.
Meeting him -- his name is John McBride -- has been a constant surprise all weekend long, dance after dance. At one point he suddenly switched and played the woman's part rather than the man's part. In the ladies chain, he became my lady, and we looked lovingly into each other's eyes. In the swing he was once again my lady. A few dances later on I was playing the woman's part and he twirled me in ways I had never been twirled before. He constantly surprised me.
We encounter so many people in life and it is always hard to figure out why we like who we like -- or don't like. Long ago I asked a friend if he liked so-and-so, a common acquaintance of ours. He said he does not tend to judge people in terms of liking or disliking. He judges people by their intensity: does this person make an impression on me. Is he, or she, vibrantly alive?
John is vibrantly alive -- and those around him are more vibrantly alive because of him.
Copyright © 2001 Henry Morgenstein