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.

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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.

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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
            forever

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)

 

QUOTATIONSQuotes #1

(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

 

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Who Are We?

Who are we – really?

Sunnyside 1924

Within the time-frame of a half-hour, how difficult would it be for you to sit down and write five things you like about yourself?   How about 10 things? Let’s make it harder – could you name 15? or 20? What about 25? or more?

If you are able to write without hesitation a goodly number of ways you see yourself in a kindly manner, good on ya, mate!   However, the chances are pretty good that most people would not be able to do that. Since we all start out at birth as human beings on a pretty well equal playing field, then – Why?  Why don’t we see ourselves as excellent representatives of what is best in the human race?

A few years ago, a group of 20 women were gathered at my home, willing to do a little experiment for me – and for themselves, as well.   We had come together as strangers in a business venture I had started, and had worked fairly closely with each other for several weeks, and in some cases, several months.

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I asked the group  to list the names of everyone in the room on a piece of paper, writing what they liked about each one, excluding themselves. On a second piece of paper,  I asked them to write down what they thought about themselves.    The results were very surprising.   Although the group found it very easy to write complimentary assets about all their fellow members, every single person there wrote negatives about themselves, with very few positives,  if there were any at all.

Some comments I remember were – “I’m overweight” – “I’m not very outgoing” – “I’m plain looking” – “I don’t smile enough” – “People don’t like me” – “I’ve always been clumsy” – “I’m not a good parent” – “I’m very disorganized” – etc.

I took the negative lists and read aloud to the group what each one thought about herself, followed by what 19 others thought about her in a positive way. Incredibly, every time I read a negative comment someone had written of herself, it was disputed by others in the room, who saw her in an entirely different way.

A few examples I remember: – “I’m too shy. I’m scared of people.” And the room thought: –  “Outgoing… Friendly… Personable… Warm.” Another: ” I’m not very friendly.”   The room:  “A witty conversationalist… Delightful person… Has become a wonderful friend… Good to everyone… Charming and helpful…”  And: “ I feel clumsy and ugly.”   The room’s response:   “Attractive…  Good-looking… Beautiful…  Walks like a model…” And: “I don’t know how to talk to people.” The room:  “Great speaker… Handles meeting so well… Very friendly with newcomers… Explains things really well…”

That’s not all… Some of the other positive attributes others gave about them, surprised them – almost shocked them – because they had never realized others saw them in such an uplifting and favorable way. I then gave them back the page with their own perceptions of self, again read aloud what the rest of the room thought about them, asking them to write down those positives below their own negative perceptions of themselves. It’s not every day that we can have such an uplifting testimony to read whenever were feeling a little down on ourselves. It’s also a wonderful way to cement friendships, when we know we are seen in such a favorable light by others – a truly win-win situation.

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The profit in that little exercise was that people who had come to know each other, were able to influence the way other people perceive themselves. Instead of continuing to be down on themselves, they began to see themselves through different eyes. It gave them confidence to change their self perception, and absolutely made it much easier to be a team player in our endeavor.

Another immense benefit was that they subsequently found it easier  to see positive things in others as well as themselves.

What causes us to think so badly of ourselves that we feel insecure and doubtful and shy, or even self-hating?   I suppose in this stage of our lives, it doesn’t matter how it was started, or what person or persons or circumstances nurtured our negative conceptions of ourselves.   The sad thing is that when we think badly about ourselves, we can sometimes do to the people we love the most, the same things that were done to us, and the cycle continues. Trying to find the causes may be helpful, but it doesn’t matter much in the here-and-now of this day and tomorrow and the day after that.

What does matter is that we recognize that everyone has a need to be cherished for who they are and what they can become, no matter their age or background. In this life, we can choose to ignore others and what they think, or seek out their opinions, and weigh what they say in a positive manner. If someone drops out of sight, we can say “ah, well” and forget them, or we can take the time to send them an email and ask “Are you okay? I’ve missed you.” Or pick up the phone… Or send a “Thinking of you” card in the mail.

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I love people and I particularly love the good vibes I get from them. It is a wonderful thing to see folks cautiously come out from under their shyness, their feelings of inadequacy, or unworthiness, to realize that we all have value, and each one of us has our own place of worth. If, as a friend or acquaintance, we can maintain a nurturing and friendly atmosphere toward others, with good fun and caring at the top of the list, I believe the dividends can be enormous, especially to ourselves. It certainly doesn’t hurt to send a little message to those in your circle of family, friends  and acquaintances, now and then, to let them know you care..

I believe that loving and caring becomes so imprinted on your own psyche that it is even picked up by strangers, making their day a little better place to be as well.   I also believe that our loving and caring needs to start with ourselves.

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QUOTATIONS …

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…On Self

A baby is born with a need to be loved and never outgrows it.  (Frank A Clark)
A man should look for what he is, and not for what he thinks should be. (Albert Einstein)
A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man. (Archibald MacLeish)
Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.  (Leonard Cohen) (Geo. W. Crane)
All I need is my brains, my eyes and my personality, for better or for worse. (Wm A Allard)
All of us love applause, and so we should – it means that the listener likes us! (Emanuel Ax
Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul. (Wayne Dyer)
Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them. (Benjamin Franklin)
Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. (Sean O’Casey)
First say to yourself what you would be;  and then do what you have to do. (Epictetus)
For us she is not the iron lady.  She is the kind, dear Mrs. Thatcher. (Alexander Dubcek)
Happiness is a hard thing because it is achieved only by making others happy.  (S Cloete)
I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.  (Churchill)
I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved. (George Eliot)
I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being. (Confucius)
I want you to start a crusade in your life – to dare to be your best.  (William Danforth)
If I respect myself and believe in what I’m doing, no one can touch me. (Fiona Apple)
If I told you about a land of love, friend, would you follow me and come? (Yunus Emre)
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself. (Benjamin Franklin)
Kindness makes a fellow feel good whether it’s being done to him or by him.  (Frank A Clark)
Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. (Mark Twain)
My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake. (Aristotle)
O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.  (Robert Burns)
Resolve to be thyself:  and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery. (Matt Arnold)
Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody. (Benjamin Franklin)
Today I see beauty everywhere I do, in every face I see, in every single soul. (Kevyn Aucoin)
Unless we love and are loved, each of us is alone, each of us is deeply lonely. (M. Adler)
You get the best out of others when you get the best out of yourself.  (Harvey S Firestone)

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Awake

Here in the quiet of my room
Here in the morning’s light
Cobwebs swept by my mental broom
Along with the fears of the night.

Here I can see light shafting through
Curtains almost full-drawn
Arise from your bed:  there are things to do
And the time to start is at dawn.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

Peace_and_Serenity_Wallpaper_by_Earthfeeler

Bosom

I capture this moment
and hold it.
I clasp it tightly,
savoring it.

Pleasure
Peace
Warmth

Even if only for a moment.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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Did I Tell You?

And did I ever tell you
how you make me feel alive?
How you make me want to conquer?
how you make me want to strive?

I want to be perfection
when you look upon my face,
I want to be your beauty,
full of gentleness and grace.

I want your eyes upon me
saying “Love you” all the time,
I am so hungry for you,
that I feel it like a crime.

Every day I’m with you
opens up another door —
Every day I love you —
more and more and more and more.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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Leonard Cohen – Who Is He?

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Leonard Norman Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, was born September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Quebec.  Honours have been heaped upon him including his induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.He has been awarded the Companion Of The Order of Canada (the nation’s highest civilian honour), the Chester MacNaughton Prize for Creative Writing, the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Poetry, the Prince of Asurias Award for literature. (For the complete list, check Wikepedia.) His music has been covered by many singers, and used in many films. He has been in films, and has had documentaries created about his work.

I love this man’s music and poetry.  Leonard Cohen instills into his words, a warm, breathing picture of who he is, what he’s experienced, what he’s seen and felt, to create masterpieces of insight and compassion, perhaps depression and despair, but ultimately reflections of life. He makes me feel what he is feeling.  He makes me see what he is seeing.

Here are seven (yes, I like him that much) selections I listen to over and over again, but truthfully, I can listen to anything he sings with great pleasure. And do –

Album 1967 “Songs Of Leonard Cohen”
The Stranger Song  (1967 live on the Julie Felix Show) (upl. absentreferent YouTube)

Album 1969 “Songs From A Room”
Bird On The Wire (Live London 2008) (upl. RElapso1 YouTube)

Album 1984 “Various Positions”
Dance Me To The End Of Love (upl. 1984 LeonardCohenVEVO YouTube)

Hallelujah (2009) (upl. WolfenSteed YouTube)

Album 1988 “I’m Your Man”
Ain’t No Cure For Love (Live London 2009, with spoken preamble, prepared video upl. sabhti)

…to hear more wonderful music from Leonard Cohen click the links below…
Everybody Knows (2008 live in London) (upl. ilnee YouTube)
Everybody Knows

I’m Your Man (live in London 2009) (upl. alcyoneeffect YouTube) (also recites “A Thousand Kisses Deep” as a poem).
I’m Your Man/A Thousand Kisses Deep

PAWS FOR AWHILE…

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Why Some Men Have A Dog, But Not A Wife:

281234d1365251218-i-m-so-excited-can-t-wait-excited_dog565The later you are, the more excited your dog is to see you.

Happy-Dog-Pictures-3Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

CuteMessyDogNeedsDogCrateDogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.

images-1Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.

Harrisburg-DUI-Lawyer-horse-dogDogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.

duck-hunting-dogs-1Dogs like to go hunting…

h-armstrong-roberts-1920s-1930s-farm-boy-wearing-straw-hat-and-overalls-sitting-on-log-with-spotted-dog-fishing-in-pond…and fishing.

excited-dogIf a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.

Signing off ….. ej