May I Have This Dance? Dance Poetry

Modern Dance Company, "Flatback and cry e.V." Production: "patchwork on stage."
Modern Dance Company, "Flatback and cry e.V." Production: "patchwork on stage." | Source

Encounter

she leans back

against his shoulder

her legs bend

she rests against him

he holds her

as if she is priceless

she melts down his body

her feet rest by his

they gaze into

each other's faces

and smile

strangers well met

in a dance

could be brother and sister

so alike, twin souls

yet, it's just a dance

they are each

otherwise committed

Dancing with Pilobolus (for Gustav)

Conspirator’s smile asking trust me,

he showed me a few moves,

then suddenly hooked his body

onto my stomach and

tucked his head under my left arm

(like a wing),

still wearing that inscrutable grin

on his deepest black, hard, round countenance.

Legs curled over my right hip,

feet reached out behind me,

he balanced, straight and feather light,

150 pounds of compact muscle,

his smiling face angled up towards mine;

I held him,

a bewildered mother with child.

Isadora's Dancers

Source

A Passion for Dance

I have passionately loved Dance since I was young. I did the Twist and other dances with my siblings and friends when in grade school, but when I first saw a live ballet, The Nutcracker, my world changed permanently. Though I was shy and my parents couldn't afford Dance lessons, I was transported by the ballet and wanted nothing more than to become a dancer. I finally began training in Modern Dance in college, and many years later, as an adult re-entry student, I earned a minor in Dance, dancing in school productions and even choreographing some of them myself. While I didn't become a professional dancer, I still dance in middle age and still love Dance passionately.

My poem, "Encounter," depicts a romantic Modern Dance duet and expresses the blurring of boundaries when real life and art come up against each other.

"Dancing with Pilobolus" tells the true story of my experience in a Pilobolus Dance Masterclass when I was a re-entry student at Humboldt State University. I was thrilled to interact one-on-one with the great Pilobolus dancers in our class, including the duet I described in the poem. Gustav was weightless as I held him; he supported his own weight through muscular control; amazing!

"Dancing on the Backbone of the Dragon" is a poem I wrote about my life, in Dance terms. It is also the title of my 2005 Masters thesis in English (Creative Writing), and the poem was part of that thesis. The dragon referred to in the poem is the evil dragon of fantasy and also the giant sand worm of Frank Herbert's classic science fiction Dune series, which seems like a dragon, in my mind. The symbolism of riding a dragon or riding the worms in Dune seems to refer to transcending the realm of passion through self mastery, which is part of any artist's quest.

Dancing on the Backbone of the Dragon

Nights, I slept in my lover’s arms;

days, I donned a leotard,

stretched and leaped, ran back home—

dancing on the back of the dragon.

My lover gone, my feet size ten,

I worked outside in snow and ice;

boots dried on the heater pinched my feet,

I bought new boots, kept working.

Dad died; I put on fifty pounds,

Mom chided, “you’re too old and fat

to find a man.” In ballet flats,

I raced the concrete miles to work.

With joy, I began to dance

again, but heel spurs grew,

perhaps from weight, or shoes,

x-rays finally explained the pain.

Lose the weight, don’t leap—

my dance adapts, falls, then rises.

Drinking deeply from the hurricane of life,

I dance down the backbone of the dragon.

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May I Have This Dance? Dance Poetry 2 comments

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

I love Dancing on the Backbone of the Dragon. Brilliant!


healingsword profile image

healingsword 5 years ago from California Author

Hi Om,

Thank you so much; that's high praise. Glad it spoke to you :-).

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