Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Not Really Off-Topic: The Elephant Man & Dancing

I like dancing. Dancing is fun with most partners. But with some partners it can be a drag. There is a magic that happens when you dance, through connection and shared vulnerability that leads to something that transcends simply moving together, it becomes art. And it becomes art because one person knows how to lead and another knows how to follow. When someone back leads me it is like something is violated. The magic is gone. When someone follows it can be a heck of a lot of fun and sometimes, just sometimes (with me, as I'm at best an okay dancer), something beautiful can happen.

Then there are some people, some women, that are always magic to dance with. And beauty results more often. They are people who just respond so gracefully to what I'm doing. It is almost like telepathy. And it is one of the best feelings in the world. I'd put my wife in that category. It may not be true with all men, but her and I just work well together. My dance instructor Karina is in that category as is one of the owners of the studio, Olga.

What is that experience like? Well, to explain it, I have to tell you the story of John Merrick, the Elephant Man. He had a terribly disfiguring disease, and was treated like an animal much of his life. Yet he had a gentle and thoughtful soul. A doctor eventually started to take care of him. One day he had a woman come and interview Merrick. They spoke for maybe 30 minutes. At the end he just broke down balling crying. The doctor asked if she had hurt his feelings somehow. Merrick said, "No, I'm crying because I'm happy...she smiled at me and shook my hand...that was the first time in my life a woman ever smiled at me or touched my hand."

Merrick's entire demeanor changed after that point. He had a spring in his step, and a positive attitude about life. He loved her from that point on. Not sexualized or romantic love exactly, but a grateful love. She had given him hope with a smile and a touch. I doubt most women realize how much power they actually have. I doubt people realize how often a smile or a touch can change a life, can open a person up to the breadth and height of the universe, can reveal the power of love. His entire existence was changed with a single touch.

And that is what it is like to dance with a person that is completely responsive to you. That is what it is like for me to dance with my wife, with Karina or with Olga, or one of those few women who are in that category.

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