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Dance Like the Whole World's Watching

Updated on June 15, 2010

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

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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