In hindsight I could have done better.
I should have done better, given my advantages, but I didn’t. C’est la vie and all that, no point in regrets, what’s done is done.
Then today I came across a fellow blogger who thinks much the same as I on some of the important factors of modern life. Dammit, I thought there was only one of me loose in the world … but somehow he led me to reprise something I’d long forgotten about: my admiration for Torvill and Dean as they were a generation ago.
They were (for all I know, might still be) dancers on ice; but not just dance qua dance—they were celebrants of life itself. On ice.
So: what is dance?
“Sexual display,” the Sage mutters drowsily in my ear, “it’s man and woman strutting their stuff. Showing each other how fit and healthy they are, what good breeding partners they’d be. In a manner acceptable to polite society.”
Perhaps. But he needn’t sound so cynical about it.
T & D go much further than this, though. I’ve seen formal dance, and wild abandoned dance, spontaneous dance and even war-dance. But T & D go far over and above mere stuff-strutting. If their’s be formal dance then they’ve practised and rehearsed until it throws away the word formal and simply looks perfectly relaxed and spontaneous. Art. Ars gratia artis writ large.
“The physical expression of a feeling—?” The Sage is groping for words, I can tell. Good, it doesn’t happen often. “Emotions made manifest? The human body as a tool—”
He can stop there, I know where he’s at. I forget the Japanese term for it but you know when someone is in the state, they’re doing it but totally unaware of doing it—I had to spar once with one of the top exponents of karate in New Zealand; looking into his eyes told me nothing—he simply wasn’t there. The karate itself was using his body as a tool, and without making a move myself I knew anything I could do was pointless.
The art uses the person as a tool to express itself?
Could be. If they’ve worked at it to the point where it becomes … … okay, what lies beyond ‘second nature’?
Could be—if they are totally unaware and just let it be. Free, abandoned, unself-conscious to the point even of being alone in a crowd—
—Torvill and Dean seem almost to have reached this point; if you haven’t seen the video I recommend it.
I didn’t watch all the way through, just to the part where they collapse in a heap; I didn’t want the commentator’s analysis to ruin my day. Yes, I’ll watch it all again later.
What was it the little Jedi guy with the big ears said in the earlier Star Wars movie? Words to the effect “Do! Or not do! But do not try~!”
I lost a lot when young by being horrendously self-conscious and having no rhythm anyway, a fatal combination for any would-be dancer. I could have done better and know I would have … had I heard Yoda’s words decades earlier.