Definition: Popular in Latin dances such as mambo and cha cha, these are movements where the partners are not physically connected. Often the partners dance similar patterns while disconnected or they act out a piece of music interpretation.
Yesterday I did my first “Shine” in dancing. It was a lot of fun but also tough and challenging to learn so many choreographed moves in a short space of time, especially when played to music and done quickly. Once we did the entire piece, you felt like you had truly done something. A sense of accomplishment. Before we did the shine as a whole class, the teacher said “even if you screw up, never stop moving your feet”. What great advice for living! After the first run through, she was especially pleased that no one (out of 15?) had stopped moving, nobody quit. Bravissimo! She said the point was to have fun, and project attitude (as in confidence, poise, assurance). Later, during the practice party I asked one of the teachers what I should be paying attention to watching the other dancers (who were all to a person far better than I, who am a beginner). She said NOT to pay attention to their steps-moves but rather how graceful, silky smooth they are and how they project-carry themselves on the dance floor, and how they (the men) treat the ladies. That it was about believing in yourself. It seems ridiculous to point out how this can so transfer itself into daily living. In the image below I particularly liked how the cityscape is worked in, as in life is throwing yourself into the polis because as Aristotle observed, we are social animals.
Talked to one person who was new to one type of Latin dance but had done other Latin dances for years. She had always been too intimidated to come to the practice parties, so this was her first one. I was thunderstruck! She was a more than adequate dancer. Much more and was nervous about attending this function, where she absolutely fit in. I who was a trillion times (at least) her inferior, was somehow there last night (had maybe 9 dances over 2 hours with different women) . I must be more courageous than I realize or a holy fool too dumb to know I do not belong. The teacher who knows my skill level had encouraged me, so I thought if they believe it is appropriate, than I shall come.
This is quite different for me from my previous self who would have so gingerly (if at all) moved on this issue. Now, I throw myself in and even if I fall flat on my face (which I did not) the important thing is to participate. I think of the scene towards the end of the film “Into the Wild” when the Emile Hirsch character (Christopher Johnson McCandless in real life I think), dying, discovers that just having an experience is not enough, no matter how grand, the crucial thing is to share it. He was so obsessed by having these pure solitary encounters with nature that he forgot about other people. It took me forever in life to inculcate that lesson.
Saw my first “Casino Rueda” dancing yesterday, which was a joy to see. Someone described it as a Cuban form of the country square dance to Latin music. There was a lot of switching partners, and a leader calls out certain movements. It looked like a lot of fun. I have NO idea if there is an essay out there waiting to be penned about the evolution of dancing from the communal to the individual, as witnessed by the rise of the waltz in the early 19th century, if that reflects society’s change from more communal to the individual.
Ever since coming out, my confidence has been spilling out into all manner of things. Yesterday’s shine was as a group, but usually it is performed individually on the dance floor. We are definitely not in Kansas any longer my friend, leaning against the wall trying to avoid the spotlight, attention. Far from it. As Jason Walton said to the Baldwin sisters as they served him breakfast in bed, “it’s fun to be fussed over once in a while.” I need that . You need that. We all need that every so often in life.
Above, I have loved french toast ever since I was a kid. Came across the picture and thought sure why not! How charming that something essentially so simple (eggs-milk-bread-butter) can taste so wonderful.
Loved all the star-type images in the post, with their subtle change of colours, the sense of movement, fluidity, action. The opposite of my previous static existence that was all too monotone.
When I was looking at some images via Google of “shine” I came across this. I know someone who could and should shine in life but they do not. Far from it. Their existence is in a downward spiral. They are not like me with the ‘carpe diem’ attitude but are a stick-in-the-mud sort. Part of it is being in a relationship that is a dead end that has had some physical abuse, but mainly verbal abuse in it.
To end: These colours below reminded me of the bi flag with the bright light of a sun-star in the middle. It is our time to rise up and shine. A tall task given how invisible we are.