Dance Like the Whole World's Watching

Please send me your last pair of shoes, worn out with dancing as you mentioned in your letter, so that I might have something to press against my heart. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A rhythm begins in your soul

Your body moves

The music flows

Into your veins

A throbbing pulse of

A drumbeat primeval

Voices hypnotizing

Melody and rhyme

Beat of bass and drummer

Feet that move in time to

Guitar, sax and keyboards

The wail of clarinet

A song’s intoxication

Lovers silhouette

Senses play the music

Feet and hearts and hands

Romance and dreams transforming

In the alchemy of dance

~ Winsome


Dancing is the world's favorite metaphor. ~ Kristy Nilsson

The popular saying "Dance as if no one is watching" promotes the idea that you may be more free if no one is around. In my poem below I explore this idea. For most people, however, who we are and how we express our innermost feelings of joy calls us to "Dance as if the whole world is watching"--and when everything comes together as it does on a perfect day in Chicago, something wonderful happens. If you have a minute, stop here and watch the Ferris Beuller parade scene with him singing Twist and Shout.

Socrates learned to dance when he was seventy because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected. ~ Source Unknown

In the oldest historical writings there are records of people dancing. Often it was in a victory celebration after a battle. (These days after a touchdown or a soccer win.) It might also be a demonstration of gratitude for something wonderful happening. The Lost Ark of the Covenant, made popular today by Indiana Jones, was returned to Israel accompanied by shouts of joy and trumpet playing. King David, wearing a linen ephod (probably like gym shorts today) danced before the Lord with all his might. Although he took some heat from his wife for it, he said "I may have looked foolish to you, but the ladies in the parade thought my moves were right and tight." (Loose translation of 2 Samuel 6:14.)

In some of the oldest of the ancient Egyptian tombs there are hieroglyphics of dances. The dance consisted mostly of a succession of figures, in which the performers exhibited a great variety of gestures.

According to one of the pre-eminent scholars of our day, The Bangles, this depiction is the early version of "Walk Like an Egyptian."

The Greeks primarily used dance in their religious ceremonies but they conceived of it as a lyric art which included all the actions of the body and limbs, and all expressions and actions of the features and head which suggest ideas--acrobatic performances, marching and mime. Dances in honor of Venus were common as she was the patroness of proper and decent dancing.  On the other hand, as you might expect, the ones in honor of Dionysius or Bacchus degenerated into revelry and obscenity.

The Sirtaki is a popular Greek dance made popular in the 1964 movie Zorba the Greek starring Anthony Quinn. It is a mixture of the slow Cretan "dragging" style or syrtos and fast leaping pidikhtos style versions of the traditional hasapiko dance. In the movie it is danced to the very familiar theme by Mikis Theodorakis.

After devastating losses the only thing left is to dance

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Dance at Bougival
Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Dance at Bougival

There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good. ~Edwin Denby

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven...A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes

We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. ~Japanese Proverb

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. ~Dave Barry

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart. ~Author Unknown

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak. ~ Hopi Indian Saying
To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak. ~ Hopi Indian Saying

He heard the sounds of the wind first

Then the rain

He lay quiet in the bed beside her even breathing

Next came the flash

Then the thunder

He smelled the charged air

Slipping out of the bed he walked across to the door and slid it open

Letting his pajamas fall to the floor

He walked out onto the deck

Grinning into the drops of rain

He begins to dance

Slow at first, feeling his way

Then grasping the night sky

Stars within the droplets

Soaring, the lightning closer now

The thunder rumbling the beat

Sweat joining rain

Faster and faster, the music of the night enveloping him

Until lightning surrounds the trees and the thunder waits as he floats

His arms outstretched, a knee bent into a pirouette

He touches down, the limbs of the trees in sync

The moon glistening off the drops and his skin

The song subsides

The wildness slips into the shadows and leaves him panting

The thirst quenched

The symphony silenced

He closes the door and dries himself

Folding the towel neatly by the door

Into his pajamas and into the bed

A smile he can’t contain next to the even breathing

©Winsome Publishing 2010, All rights reserved


Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~Author Unknown


Comments 53 comments

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

What a splendid, beautiful hub! You have one of my favorite paintings by Renoir included here, and I have actually been to the very place of this painting! My friend wanted me to see it, I put on my best dancing dress and we eventually found it. Alas, there was no dancing that night, so we danced anyway.

Your poetry should be in poetry publications. It is really very beautiful. 'the wildness slips into the shadows and leaves him panting' love these words.

so you dance? let's dance! you know that song by David Bowie? :]


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

How many of us can just let go like the man in your poem, even when no one is watching? What a truly liberating feeling it must be to drop all one's inhibitions and let the music in our hearts take over. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Winsome - lyrical words that dance across the page. Thank you. And the video of Gene Kelly was the icing on the cake. That Singin' in the Rain number may have been the best dance number ever filmed. Thank you for that, too.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for your wonderful poems. They were awsome. I am glad I fanned you.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

A delightful read - at once somber then celebratory. I like the creative mix you have done here. Truly dance is a form of expression, a freeing of the soul. Nice. Very nice! :D


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Bekah, "put on your red shoes and let's dance the blues" What a great opportunity to dance where Renoir danced (or at least painted.) Thank you for the compliment, I'm celebrating chapters of the "Day" and I had to have a day of dance and play and just plain fun. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

FP you never know until you try--there will be a wild night sometime, just let it call you--you'd be surprised how completely nature can free you to express. We owe it to the species to keep our bodies in tune with life--just because we all have clothes doesn't mean we can't shed them now and again and dance with the stars. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Doc, it is my great pleasure. I struggled with which videos to include so I have another hub coming with the "Best Movie Dance Scenes Ever" where I just feature them. Thank you for your kind words. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hello HH, I've been singing the Neil Diamond song "Hello Again Hello" all morning and it's fitting you should visit. I'm glad you enjoyed them and happy we're "fanned" also. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you brother Cris, I think it is true that dance is the world's favorite metaphor. From infancy to old age joy always comes out in some form of dance...even if we have to slip out into the night for it to happen. =:)


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

How absolutely wonderful. Excellent hub. I love you messages here. Beautiful poetry, awesome video clips and perfect footer. I think I just might take your advice here and dance a little bit today, right in the middle of the world. Great topic, Winsome. Thumbs up and shared.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Frieda I would love to see it--make us a video and have a limited showing on a midnight first ever half-hour party hub by invitation only. =:)

Thank you for the kind words and thumbs up. Let me know when to tune in. =:)


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Wow Winsome this is an awesome Hub. thanks for lifting my spirit! I love the mix of your own poems, quotes and snippets of historical data. Great vids too! Gene K. was the man. I have to admit I dance best when no one is looking :)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi GL, so glad you enjoyed it--just keep dancing and even though no one sees you doing it, the world will know by the smile on your face. Thanks for the visit. =:)


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

"Shall we dance, shall we dance, shall we dance?" Charming hub, Winsome!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you M'Lady, of course we shall and I believe the next one is a waltz. =:)


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Hey! Just a quick note to say that I'm glad you're showing your true colors. I love your sparkling new avatar Winsome


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Well thank you GL--who knows, I might even break into "talkies" one day. =:)


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

Winsome, I still wish you would read and comment on my roach hub, and maybe on my "I bled all the way to the cemetery." I love your hubs -- and your poetry!


faithfulpen 6 years ago

Loved the first poem and some of the quotes. Long, but great hub! I love to dance, even if sometimes it is in my heart.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

M'Lady, you are too gracious--I can't believe I haven't seen those two--I am off to read and comment anon. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hmm FP, I would have picked you as someone who would like the second--hmmm maybe because you have not yet broken out of the safety of your heart out into the rain... =:)

Thank you ever so much for your kind comment and visit.


the pink umbrella profile image

the pink umbrella 6 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

Wonderful hub! I dance when no one is around, because if anyone was around, they might call 911!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Pink, thanks for the comment. I'm glad you are dancing--whether or not people see it. This quote applies very well:

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

~ Henry David Thoreau


lightning john profile image

lightning john 6 years ago from Florida

Great hub Winsome, unfortunately I am like The Jerk {the movie}with Steve Martin. Cheers!


cosette 6 years ago

omgsh Winsome.....i go between laughing and feeling all warm and fuzzy and then melancholy!

ok, Zorba the Greek was one of my father's favorite movies, and of course he would dance around the house. when i was young it kind of made me uncomfortable but as i got older i realized how cool that was fo someone to be that free and spontaneous.

Ferris BUELLER? that scene gets me every time, no matter how many times i watch it. that and the scene at the Art Institute of Chicago.

hey did you know that that parade was REAL? they 'crashed' it for that scene, and all the people dancing were real too! which is why that is such a cool scene. well, that and Twist and Shout.

i always liked that song 'Mr. Bojangles'. it has a pretty melody.

a few years ago, i sketched a young girl skipping, her long dark braids flying behind her and the sash of her dress hanging down. she was me and she was playing in the rain. i forget who said this: "whoever said only sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain", but it's one of my favorite quotations, and you made me think of it just now.

now that Gene Kelly song is going to be stuck in my head.

-cosette, clicking all the rating buttons


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey John, "If this is out there just think of what else is out there!" I loved that movie--just dance your way in the rain and the lightning John... =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Cosette, I would love to see the sketch and I'm glad you liked the selections--my take on dance is connected to feelings like your sketch must be--I believe that dancing is letting your soul come outside to play. Go here (http://hubpages.com/hub/It-Was-One-of-Those-Surpri... and you will see what Ferris saw that made him realize he had to skip school.

In Zorba, both of those men lost everything and were publicly embarrassed and a least one demolished by love and he asks Zorba: "Would you teach me to dance?" at which Zorba laughs because he knows the young man got it--when it hurts you can laugh or dance and they do both.

Thank you for a delightful comment and for rating it up. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Sorry that link didn't work try this: http://hubpages.com/literature/It-Was-One-of-Those...


Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

Thankyou for your hub. I loved the quotes, loved your poems, especially the last, dancing naked in the rain. Reminds me I need to dance more whether someone is watching or not.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Dancing naked in the rain--Jewels I'm shocked--just kidding. So glad you liked and yes please dance--I'll keep at least one eye closed. =:)


Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

^_^ It's raining now. Hmmm!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

I hope you danced. =:)


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Wooo...Winesome! Talk about a way with the words...you got it! Oh...and just as a criticism, you fall to mention were the "bugaloo" orginated. Not a biggie (LOL)! WB


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Wayne and you are so right, who could forget the boogaloo with its blend of R&B and mambo. Just don't ask me about the jala-jala and the shing-a-ling. =:) Great to have you stop by.


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Loved this hub!I was getting ready to do a hub about dancing and yours is inpirational. First songs I remember dancing to was Madonna stuff- "Get Into The Groove". I have spent my entire life dancing- ballet, tap, jazz when I was younger, dance team in high school, dancing at clubs for fun, and now dancing with my 3 yr old- lol. I loved the first poem. You're a great writer.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

What a marvelous epitaph Izzy--"I have spent my entire life dancing." People walking by hundreds of years from now would comment: "What a lucky girl!" I'm glad you liked it and I'm looking forward to reading yours. Thank you for the kind words. =:)


SilverGenes 6 years ago

Well now, this just makes me want to dance! Lovely, lyrical, joyous hub and the poems are fantastic! The quote you open with is possibly the most romantic sentiment I have ever read :)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Isn't it? Who knew the scholar was so romantic. Thank you SG for the lovely compliment. There is so much joy in the world and dancing has to be it's finest expression--I think that must be why Degas was so fascinated by it--that and the pretty girls. =:)


fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

Beautiful, fun awe inspiring hub. Your poetry is amazing. Keep writing that. I voted this up and awesome. Great hub with history, entertainment and wonderful quotes included. ( Oh, just watch the lightning and trees you had me worried there. My husband doesn't let a small storm stop him from swimming, either. But...) You're seeing my irritating practical side, sorry.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Wow Fetty, such praise, I blush (this is what he types, but he is actually river dancing on his keyboard) Thank you for the visit and the wonderful review. My practical side has a healthy regard for lightning, but when the forces of nature play their Wagner.... =:)


Morgan F profile image

Morgan F 6 years ago from USA

Another great hub by Winsome! (you may see a few more of these I'm off to read more!). I like how you stuck Ferris Beuler's Day Off and Singing in the Rain in there, two of my favorite movies!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Oh Morgan you are so nice. Thank you. I just crack up every time I see Ferris with those girls on that float and Gene makes me want to dig out my umbrella and pray for rain. =:)


kai777 profile image

kai777 6 years ago from Chicago

Very good article Winsome! I really like the phrase "A rhythm begins in your soul." To go a little deeper in this article, it is my belief that it is the music (the beats & the rhythm more so than the lyrics) that moves us. Music truly soothes the soul and the body willingly moves in motion when it is played. So when you dance like no one is watching, you are merely expressing what is being felt within. Wonderful!!!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Kai, thank you for coming and for the kind words. I remember my daughter dancing to the music when she could barely walk and when she was a baby with colic, the only thing that would calm her down was me dancing with her to classical music. There were many awakened nights but I wouldn't trade the memories. =:)


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

...I may just have to take up residence at this hub - it is such a winner and so well put together by you - it's a gift to us from you and that's a really nice feeling indeed . One day I will send you a list of my favorite dance scenes - but here are two to whet your appetite:

1. The dance scene in Jean-Luc Godard's A Bande Aparte

(A band of outsiders) where they are dancing the Madison -absolutely sublime and one of my favorite scenes from any movie - go to You Tube - type it in and I will prove it to you!

2. Christopher Walken dancing in a Steve Martin movie called Pennies from Heaven - this should be on You Tube also - and let me know what you think?


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

EG you are right the trio in the cafe in A Bande Aparte are charming and Christopher Walken is a hoot in Pennies. They would be a great addition to an eclectic version of these hubs. Thank you for the kind words, I agree, I want to hang out here too. =:)


Ana Louis profile image

Ana Louis 5 years ago from Louisiana

Hi Winsome. A wonderful hub about a subject that keeps me glad to be alive. You are right, it begins in the soul. Music...rythm...dancing is part of the human spirit (soul), and I think every one responds to this basic instinctual moving. After all - inside of each one of us exist the rythm of a beating heart.

I love Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers, so did my mother. I posted a lovely tribute video of them I found on youtube, to the hub I wrote about my mother, who once dreamed of being a professional dancer.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Ana, I'm so glad you enjoyed this celebration of dance. They say that over 90% of children have a high creativity quotient and less than 3% of adults do. I think we start to lose it when we stop dancing. I absolutely love it when music moves me to dance...and sometimes, even the rain. =:)


Lisas-thoughts101 profile image

Lisas-thoughts101 4 years ago from Northeast Texas

Winsome, I love the quote, "Dance is the world's favorite metaphor." I know it is mine ;) I love to dance. by myself, with a lover, with my children when they were babies, dancing is setting the soul free.....and bojangles may be one of my all time favorite songs.... thank you for such a lovely hub. Your poems were just incredible!

Take care,

Lisa


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Lisa, I'm happy to hear you love dancing. I'll put on my copy of Mr. Bojangles at 7:30 tonight PST and you put on yours and we'll have a few thousand miles apart dance. Now if I can just remember how to do the old soft shoe...=:)


ImYoungAtHeart profile image

ImYoungAtHeart 3 years ago from midwest US

Loved the hub Winsome like so many others of yours, it was amazing and freeing. I love to dance as often as I can and the quote on my mantle is that one that says "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.. its about learning to dance in the rain." Wish i could add your poem right next to it :). You're a fantastic writer whose hubs touch our soul.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 3 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

IYAH, what a sweet thing to say. You always warm my heart. I am glad you enjoyed my little tribute to dance, there are few expressions of joy as satisfying as moving to the music sometimes only you can hear.

Thanks for visiting and for the kind words. =: )

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    He said his name "Bojangles" and he danced a lick
    across the cell
    He grabbed his pants and spread his stance,
    Oh he jumped so high and then he clicked his heels
    He let go a laugh, let go a laugh
    and shook back his clothes all around

    Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles
    Mr. Bojangles, dance ~ Jerry Jeff Walker

    Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
    She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
    How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
    Some dance to remember, some dance to forget ~ The Eagles

    Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. ~ William Stafford

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