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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dancing to Oblivion, or Greek-style meditation?

Last night, we attended the Greek festival, one of our favorites, because it has public folk dancing, with people of all ages and abilities welcome to join in. (This photo is not us, and there are no children here,  but we were too busy dancing to take photos last night.) 

The steps are complicated but simple. Once you learn them, once you get them into your muscle memory, you can almost do them in your sleep. Which is lovely, because the first person in line is improvising, so you may be asked to follow along with wonderful, silly, dramatic movements, impromptu. Of course, some of them are so simple that they're just a hora--step to the right, step behind, step, kick, step, kick. But most have a quirk that makes them enough complicated that it can take, well, a few years of festivals before you learn them well. 

We know them well. While the kids went to the bouncy houses and answered Greek trivia questions (which my Jewish history buff child aced) I danced until I forgot my mind, forgot my body, until I was rhythm and music and laughter, and sweat dripping into my eyes. We all did, maybe thirty of us, dancing in circles and windy roads, ducking the tent poles, helping those who didn't know the steps or the rhythm, dancing until everybody was too tired--even the Greek folk dancers--and the party broke up around 9:45. It was absolute, sheer joy. 

We all need more of this--public, communal dancing. Dancing until we become one of many bodies in a long, snake-line of dancers, joined in laughter and movement. With, or without the fancy costumes. 

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