Dance me…

Court Ball at the Hofburg  1900 (Wilhelm Gause)

Court Ball at the Hofburg 1900 (Wilhelm Gause)

In a world full of different countries, different cultures, widely varied customs and traditions, different languages, there are some things that do not require words to be understood.  Perhaps the most common and celebrated is music, itself as varied as the peoples of the world.  Music is a language in and of itself, absorbed into the deepest parts of the human psyche, and capable of changing how we act and feel.

Music itself has many, many faces.  From the aboriginal rhythms of Australia to Aida at the Metropolitan Opera, music is music and imprints its rhythms and melodic harmonies – or disharmonies – upon us, helping to shape who we are are as individuals, or as peoples or nations.

When music hits deep chords within us, so poignantly, so sharply that  we feel a compulsion to join back to the music that joined with us, then participatory dance is born.  We are compelled to join with the music, and express to the world how we have been impacted, how we feel, and what better way to express this than through dance?

Dance can be a solo expression, as David biblically danced to the Lord in his joy, or solo-within-group expressions as a dance is expressed in a disco setting, or street dancing. Here are a number of dance expressions.

(with thanks to YouTube uploaders listed below the videos)

We have ceremonial dances, war dances…

…exotic dances like the hula, Native American dances…

…sword dances…

…celebratory dances, figure skating, rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming (also lovely forms of dance)…

There is theatrical dance, where we participate as spectators, while the performers enchant us on stage or on a movie set, ranging from ballet…

…to tap dancing (modern)…

…to tap dancing (classic)…

…to swing dancing, including the energy-packed Lindy Hop…

…to modern, and oriental dramas. All these are touching and expressive, and highly memorable.  Who can ever forget watching the meditative dance of a Turkish Whirling Dervish… (one hand up, receiving from God, one hand down, giving to others)

.. or a dynamic Cossack dance…

…or Russian dancing…

…or a highland fling…

…or the traditional Japanese Awa Dance…

…or hip-hop…

…or precision street dancing, Japanese style…

…or Classical Indian dance (displaying three different styles)…

…or traditional Irish dancing such as Riverdance?

Is there such a thing as drum dancing?  I think there should be…

(Youtube contributors from above: RugbyBanterPage, RandyShirley, IronEagle444, Proacguy1, WarnerClassicsTV, Ostanin2011, docludi2, swingcatVB, 4transform, DenysDronov, MrKrolik76, weekendsinontario, BothNations俊, OfficialHHI, WorldOrder, NitishaNanda, WaleedAl-Ashari and JeffEasterling)

Wikipedia tells me that there is archeological evidence for early dance from 9,000 year old paintings in India at the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, and Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures around 3300 BC.  I like to think that dancing is much older than that.  I think it started with a happy caveman hunter who brought home fresh meat and celebrated in a victory dance around the fire, with a full belly and a happy heart. Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Lucian refer to Greek dance.  In Chinese pottery as early as the Neolithic period, groups of people are depicted dancing in a line holding hands.


There are so many descriptions of dance forms developed over time – the jig, waltz, tango, disco, salsa, street.  South Asian dancing has many regional varieties of Indian classical dance, relating to ancient harvest celebrations, love, patriotism or social issues. Sri Lankan dances include the devil dances, a ritual reaching back into pre-buddhism past.

(From World of Ballet)

(From World of Ballet)

Ballet originated in the 15th century Italian Renaissance, was further developed in France, other European nations and Russia and was soon embraced in North American culture.

(Swing dancing ála Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire)

20th century concert dance provided great changes in dance styles and techniques.  African American dance developed, as well as tap dancing, disco dancing, jazz dancing, swing dancing, hip hop dancing, and rock and roll variations.

Square Dancing Marin County Mtn. Play (Oklahoma)

Square Dancing Marin County Mtn. Play (Oklahoma)

Participatory dance can range from folk to line dancing, square dancing, or ballroom dancing.  I call this social dancing, and words are rarely needed to participate, just people and music and emotion.

Dancing has always been a wonderful way to introduce yourself to the opposite sex.  I remember very well how we, as teenagers, waited for the weekends so that we could go dancing. Growing up in Owen Sound, it was wonderful to have a dance at City Hall every Saturday, at a service club every Friday, at some of our beautiful beaches like Balmy and Sauble, with big bands, or at some of the little towns around the city, where churches and social groups held dances.

Dance HallI still remember the excitement of dancing for the first time with my husband-to-be-but-I-didn’t-know-it-yet, my lifelong sweetheart.  I still remember drinking in the intense good looks of his Irish-Scottish heritage, as he gracefully and purposefully crossed the huge room of the City Hall auditorium to ask me to dance.  I well remember the thrill of the dance with him, confirming to my heart before the dance was over, that he would be The One.  I just knew.  What a graceful dancer!  What an attentive partner!  The moment was magic for me.  Of course the dance is an introduction to courtship, but it leaves a graceful path to saying “no” to someone too.  I knew I would not be saying “no” to this beautiful, big Canadian.

My Mom and Dad were amazing on the dance floor. I often wonder where these two unique and vibrant people learned how to do all the things they knew how to do, coming from small western farming communities.   At many of the local dances we attended with them here in the east, people would stop their own dancing just to watch my parents waltz together, or polka, or do the Charleston – they were that electric!  In fact, my Dad invented a couple of Charleston steps – one of which was called the “Collie-Wobble” if I remember rightly. My brother and I also learned some of their dance techniques and in our own right, (especially with the Charleston because it was such a novelty) were show stoppers. Mom and Dad were fond of dancing at home too,  when they were alone together, and that is a happy habit my husband and I picked up from them.  The cares of the day fade into nothingness when you are listening to music you love, and dancing to it together.

My favourite memory of all when I think of dancing is when my daughter was little, and her Dad very solemnly first invited her to dance with him.  He had her step onto his size 13 shoes, gently held her hands and moved her through an unforgettable moment of music, and love.


I wish the world would stand still now and then and just let the music enfold them, fill them, encourage them to step out and let the Dance bring beauty, grace, energy, excitement and joyful feelings into their hearts.

(John Dryden)

 Invitation To The Dance

You bend a little
    reaching for my hand
        inviting me to dance.

I rise,
    feeling electric tingles
        at your magic touch.

The music starts
    and we begin
        to join our lives

Through The Dance.

© E J Finn / Collie

dance-and-music-2251Choosing music with a dancing theme for Mom’s blog has been a real treat for me. Don’t look for anything too modern here as I’ve reached back to prior decades for these gems. I’ve decided to start the tunes off with a touching and emotional video produced in 1984 with one of Mom’s all-time favourite songs by Leonard Cohen entitled “Dance Me (to the end of love)” (LeonardCohenVEVO)

This is an elegant polka from the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein 1951 musical “The King and I” called “Shall We Dance?” performed, with both song and dance, by Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner (Rodgers and Hammerstein)

“The Anniversary Song” with the lovely opening lyrics “Oh, how we danced on the night we were wed” , composed by Ion Ivanovici in 1880, adapted by Al Jolson in 1946 and performed here in 1974 by Norma Zimmer, Jimmy Roberts and the Lawrence Welk singers and danced to by Lawrence Welk himself with his wife Fern (Chris Pikal)

Here’s “Dancing in the Dark” written by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwarz, gracefully danced to by my favourite, Fred Astaire, and the lovely Cyd Charisse from the 1953 movie musical “The Band Wagon” (CiroBossi)

“Begin The Beguine” is a tropically beautiful Cole Porter tune shown here with the amazing tap dancing of Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell from the movie “Broadway Melody of 1940” (tiberiuswoodyboyd)



(Take a moment to read these quotations;  they will lift you up.)
Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music. (George Carlin)
We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. (F. Nietzsche)
Dance, when you’re broken open.  Dance, if you’re torn the bandage off.  Dance in the middle of the fighting.  Dance in your blood.  Dance when you’re perfectly free. (Rum)
Do a loony-goony dance ‘Cross the kitchen floor, Put something silly in the world That ain’t been there before. (Shel Silverstein)
Dance and sing to your music.  (Steve Maraboli)
Nobody cares if you can’t dance well.  Just get up and dance.  (Martha Graham)
Life is the dancer and you are the dance.  (Elkhart Tolle)
Join the dance. (Alan W Watts)
Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair… (Susan Polis Schutz)
Dance upon the mountains like a flame.  (W. B. Yeats)
I keep on dancing… and dancing… and dancing.  Until there is only… the dance.  (M. Jackson)
I only try to dance better than myself.  (Mikhail Baryshnikov)
To dance is to be out of yourself.  Larger, more beautiful, more powerful… (Agnes De Mille)
It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.  (Xiaolu Guo)
Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. (Kurt Vonnegut)
Dance like there’s nobody watching…. Just keep dancing.  (Jarod Kintz)
Dance for yourself.  (Louis Horst)
Dance, dance, dance till you drop.  (WH Auden)
They danced by the light of the moon (Edward Lear)
Life is short and there will always be dirty dishes, so let’s dance.  (James Howe)
Dance breaks.  Lots of dance breaks.  (Jenny Han)
The Dance is love, it is only love, it alone, and that is enough.  (Isadora Duncan)
Dance is the expression of man — the landscape of his soul.  (Martha Graham)
Dance has the power to silence the chatter in the mind and lift us to another place. (R.McKee)
I want to slow dance with you again.  I want to dance with you forever.  (Sarah Black)
It is my dance.  It is my moment.  It is mine.  And dance I will.  (Dan Pearce)
When you truly dance, you dance yourself free.  (Jay Woodman)
You can dance in the storm.  (Israelmore Ayivor)
You just can’t fall when you get into the rhythm of the dance.  (Jack Kerouac)
I will dance all the dances I can.  (SARK)
Dance in the wind of happiness.  (Santos Salwar)
Dancing is creating a sculpture that is visible only for a moment.  (Errol Ozan)
Dancing is the body’s song.  (Lynne Sharon Schwartz)
You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams. (Gene Kelly)
Dance with me within the wind… let me love you.  (Oksana Rus)
We danced forever, and not nearly long enough.  (Jodi Meadows)
Fly high, feel the music, and forever dance free.  (Phoenix Z Courtney)
Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn. (Terri Guillemots)
There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.  (Vicki Baum)
To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.  (Hopi Indian saying)
If you’re feeling blue, lock yourself in a room, stand in front of a mirror, & dance. (S. Hayek)
When I’m happy, I just want to dance.  (Marjane Satrapi)
You live as long as you dance.  (Rudolf Nureyev)

Paws for Awhile

Critters like to dance, too..

I invite you all to dance a little, where and when you can, alone or with a partner, and give yourself a lift …..

Till next time!  — EJ


Vive La Différence!

rose colored glasses

When we’re young, we seek out the opposite sex, definitely wearing our rosiest glasses, while we check each other out.  Both sides are on their best attraction-behaviour, utilizing all the skills available in their arsenals, presenting the most advantageous image possible, because we are looking for “The Right One For Me.”  True love!  They lived happily ever after!  Yeah.  Right.  Don’t get me wrong – I count myself blessed to have had the greatest husband in the world – for me, at least.  It was NOT because he agreed with everything I thought, felt, said, or did.  (Because he didn’t. And I’m glad he didn’t.)

We’re not only careful of how we look, act, and react, we’re also carefully watching Him or Her to see how they handle all situations and events.  We watch every gesture, every action and reaction as to what was said or done, or what we hope was really meant by what was said or done.  Then we can rehash all this information privately, sifting through it, and measuring our compatibility.  We can learn from these encounters, adjusting how we see things, do things, to put ourselves in the best possible light to be totally accepted by our chosen ones.

Business conversations

Well, some of us do.  Some of us DO go through all those rituals above, while “looking”, but some of us do not make a choice based on what we have found out about the one under observation.

Some of us are instead hit with a double whammy of a lighting bolt and voilá! We instantly know that He’s the One!  She’s the One!. No testing required! The whole search issue goes away if both feel the same lightning bolt at the same time.  I think True Love At First Sight is real, but rare.  I know that’s what my husband and I experienced when we first became aware of each other.  (Although, to be honest, he did tell me he was kind of following me around and checking me out, and well – stalking me, I guess you would say, for several weeks before we actually met.)

Maybe our meeting wasn’t so fated after all — maybe it was the result of meticulous planning on his part, but hey!  I still felt the lightning bolt, and if he felt his lightning bolt earlier than I did, who’s to say it wasn’t the same lightning bolt with a time-delay?


So, having been lucky enough to have met each other and Knowing, and acknowledging that there was no more shopping to be done, except where and when to go for the Happily-Ever-After part of our lives, you would think there would never be any problems between us, right?

Well, almost.  People spend all that time in searching for each other – not to find someone who is the same as they are, but to find someone who is different, but compatible.  They want someone who makes up for their shortcomings;  who finds it easy to fix the plumbing or the car, if they can’t;  who handles the finances well, if they can’t budget, who has good social skills, or a sense of humour, – whatever’s missing in the partner.  Whatever each one lacks, he or she seeks in the other, to complete themselves so they can work as a powerful, united unit. They may not even consciously know this is what they’re doing, but it’s part of the ritual mating game, part of the plan.  The result should provide a huge dose of mutual admiration and attraction for each other, that never wavers, and that is the magical, successful formula for the “happily ever after” part, right?

Right.  So why would we want to change our partner so that he or she thinks, acts, responds to and does things in the same way we ourselves would?  Yet, people do this, all the time, alas.  Each time they do, they brush off a little of the magic foo-foo-dust that makes things work so well in the beginning.

4063be125c37db1886027dd8d06a185cI had wise parents, both strong, totally compatible, a rock-solid, ulta-romantic team, for sixty years.  Mom said to me, “You’re in a corporate partnership now, where sometimes shares can change hands, so that one time he’s the right person in charge, and another time you are, according to the situation and your abilities to manage the day-to-day marketplace of life.”  Or words to that effect.

Dad said to me, “Marriage is like pushing a square block down the side of a mountain.  At first it will bounce all over the place, changing direction, with chips flying everywhere, but as it progresses down the mountain, it begins to round itself out, and starts to run smoothly down a straight path to the bottom.”  It’s the flying chips you have be careful of, naturally.

We were lucky enough and canny enough to realize that when two strong people marry, there really isn’t room for two CEO’s, so we each held onto the roles we were best suited for, and the square block started getting rounder.  We stayed a team throughout our marriage – maybe not as perfect as Mom and Dad did, but pretty solid all the same.

BUT… that having been said — there are still some questions that haven’t been answered for me.  They don’t really make too much difference in our day-to-day lives, but they are a little bit weird to me. And these “differences” seem to be universal, when I speak to my married female friends.

?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?  


Why does the male of the house absolutely HAVE to control the remote for the T.V., the VCR, the sound system, or any other gadget with a control?  It’s almost as if Crazy Glue comes with the remote and when the package is opened, he immediately applies the glue and says, “Can’t help it.  It’s just glued to my hand.  Guess it has to stay there.”  And to make his point, I think he would actually walk out of the room with it, take it to bed with him, if there was any dispute.

Why can’t a man ask for directions?  When travelling in unknown territory, in the middle of a rainstorm, with visibility at near-zero, towards a destination that must be reached by a specific time, knowing that you are already a little late… why can’t a man ask for directions?  And why, if the wife is the designated navigator is it her fault is he didn’t follow her directions?

Why, when clothing hampers were made to throw our soiled clothes into, do they end up in front of, behind, beside or on top of, but never inside?

The toilet seat.  ‘Nuff said.

Why do these hale, hearty men, disintegrate into whiny little kids when they get a cold? (“I’m sick, take care of me.”) Accompanied by moaning, ghastly throat and cough sounds….

Why do men never put things back in their proper place?  From clothing to dishes to garden tools? And then ask their wives to find it for them?

But on the other hand, I know my husband had a few questions of his own.

?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?

Fotolia_31549298_Subscription_XXL1Why do women have such a shoe fetish?
Why do I have to have to tag along on her endless shopping or window shopping sprees?
Why do women want to talk all the time?
Why do women cry at the drop of a hat?
Why do women always have to have the last word?
Why are women on a life-long diet?
Why do women say “nothing” when you ask them what’s wrong?

I think the differences between us are the real strengths that keep us together.  In time, as that square block is rolling along, chips flying here and there, sides getting smoother and rounder, I believe the reason for the harmony is that we accept the differences, and ignore them, or genuinely admire them, or fondly – I said fondly – make fun of them – in a very gentle, non-antagonistic way, of course. When our beloved absolutely knows he or she is loved for who they are and what they think and do, and vice-versa, that stone just keeps on rolling.

So, accept the differences, tolerate them, live with them, and Vive! them.


And keep on, keepin’ on



A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she does not need, but it’s on sale.

A man has six items in his bathroom. A toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, soap, shampoo and towel. The average number of items in a typical woman’s bathroom is 337. A man can only identify 20 of these.

A woman has the last word in any argument.  Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

A woman worries about the future until she has a husband. A man doesn’t worry about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one that makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change but he doesn’t. A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change but she does.

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, workout, read a book and go to the mall. A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

A woman knows everything about her children. She knows about dentist appointments, romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

Women are never wrong.  Apologizing is the man’s responsibility.

Women do NOT want an honest answer to the question, “How do I look?



–    Their last name stays put.
–    The garage is all theirs.
–    Wedding plans take care of themselves.
–    Wedding dress $5000.  Tux rental $100.
–    Chocolate is just another snack.
–    He can never get pregnant.
–     He can wear a white t-shirt to a water park
–    He can wear NO shirt to a water park
–    Car mechanics tell him the truth.
–    He doesn’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
–    For a man, wrinkles add character.
–    People never stare at his chest when he’s talking to them.
–    New shoes don’t cut, blister or mangle his feet.
–    He has one mood all the time.
–    His phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
–    He knows stuff about tanks.
–    A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
–    He can open all his own jars.
–    If someone forgets to invite him, he or she can still be his friend.
–    His underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
–    Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
–    The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades.
–    He only has to shave his face and neck.
–    He can play with toys all his life.
–    He has one wallet and one pair of shoes in one colour for all seasons.
–    He can wear shorts no matter how his legs look.
–    He can “do” his nails with a pocket knife.
–    He has freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
–    He can do Christmas shopping in 25 minutes for 25 relatives at noon on December 24th.  (N.B. – but someone else does the wrapping, of course).


(Ok, I admit I wrote this quite awhile ago, when chips were still flying off that rolling rock…)


When God first made the world, my dear,
He fooled with this and that,
And, just for fun, pulled Adam out
Of His celestial hat.

’Twas just a joke, all women know,
(I’m sure you will agree —)
and as to why man’s still around?
Well, listen, dear, to me.

With animals, God fixed and patched
To make them all just right;
And God left Adam to the last,
Then settled for the night.

When, in the morning, God awoke,
It was a lovely day.
He fashioned Eve’s perfection
From celestial modelling clay.

He was so proud of how she looked –
His masterpiece, at last!
So Gabriel raised his golden horn
In mighty trumpet blast!

God then returned to Adam,
To crush him back to dust –
But Eve, with pity, stayed His hand
From it’s downward thrust.

She pleaded for companionship,
She pleaded for a toy,
She asked God, “Let me be a girl,
And let him be a boy.”

His eyes full of compassion
For His plaything of the day,
God said, “Oh, what’s the harm in it,
If I let him stay?”

And so He took from Eve, and gave
to Adam what he’s got —
That one and only reason why
The men should not be shot.

© E. J. Finn / Collie


Hello again. It’s EJ’s daughter here with a few of “Vive La Différence!” themed tunes for you. First we have a great Irving Berlin song “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)”, written for the 1946 Broadway musical comedy, “Annie Get Your Gun”.  The story is a fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley and her romance with fellow sharpshooter Frank Butler, who both starred in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. This version is from the 1950 movie of the play.

1950 – Betty Hutton and Howard Keel battle it out with “Anything You Can Do” (lilithip/YouTube)

I love SuperHero/SuperVillian movies so I couldn’t pass up this version of the same tune played over scenes from the 2013 movie “Thor: TheDark World”- starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor) & Tom Hiddleston (Loki).

2013 – “Thor & Loki * Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)”. Hope you get a chuckle out of this video with brothers Thor and Loki showing their sibling rivalry!  (DailyAsgardianNews/YouTube)

This next song was a 1967 hit for Johnny Cash and June Carter. It’s called “Jackson”, written in 1963 by Billy Wheeler & Jerry Leiber.  The version I picked was a live performance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in 1980. It’s about a couple in the midst of breaking up, but Johnny and June share a kiss at the end just to let you know it’s all just in fun!

1980 – Johnny Cash & June Carter perform “Jackson” live on TV (Johnny Carson/YouTube)

For my final pick, I’ve chosen another “blast from the past” with “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” from the 1937 movie musical “Shall We Dance”. I love Fred Astair, especially when paired with Ginger, hope you do too.

1937 – Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers singing & (roller-skate) dancing to “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (PepsiPrime/YouTube)

Paws for Awhile

After all is said and done, I think the ideal mate (or at least best friend forever) is — a rabbit!  Differences just don’t seem to matter to them – they not only get along with each other, they get along with everybody!

Bunny and cat

Bunny Rex and cat in HobbitlandRex bunny and cat (looking for Hobbits perhaps?)

bunny and chicks(bestfunnychannel)Bunny and chicks (bestfunnychannel.blogspot)

Bunnies and chickens (milkandhoneyfarm)Bunnies and chickens (milkandhoneyfarm)

bunny and dogBunny and Dog

Bunny and ElephantBunny and Elephant

Bunny Ben and fawn Bambi (Svetlana Harper)Bunny and FawnBunny and Frog (Cottonginny)Bunny and Frog (Cottonginny)

bunnies and goatsBunnies and goats

Bunny and Guinea Pig (cute-overload)Bunny and Guinea Pig (cute-overload)

bunny and hedgehog

Bunny and Hedgehog

Bunny and HorseBunny and Horse

Bunny and Simba lion cubBunny and Simba the lion

bunny and monkeyBunny and the Monkey

Bunny giant and pygmy pigsBunny giant and pygmy piglets (Richard Austin)

Bunny Champis herding his sheepBunny “Champis” herding his sheep

Bunny and SquirrelBunny and Squirrel

Bunny and SwanBunny and Swan

bunny and turtleBunny and Turtle

rbunny and wallaby (mygratefulness)Bunnies and Wallaby (my gratefulness)

And I’ll leave you with that note…..

until next time

xxoo ej