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November reflection 2017

The dancer

And David danced before the Lord ( 2 Samuel 6:14)

A few months ago I saw the ballet Romeo and Juliet at Maynardville. I just loved the dance between Juliet and Romeo when they first meet and have time together. The dance becomes so sensuous and fluid, and their bodies defy gravity. Their love for each other seems unbounded by space and time.

The performance spurred me on to see Don Quixote at the Artscape – I have always been fascinated by the Spanish story of Cervantes. The crazy romantic Don Quixote “who will march into hell for a heavenly cause.”

The truth is I have always been mesmerised by the dance. Let me add that I am no dancer, but I will get up and shake my body around on the dance floor. I am a pretend dancer. Either I was a great dancer in my previous life so that is not my gift now, or I am preparing to be one in my next life.

I remember Zorba’s dance of the 1960s and the film Zorba the Greek which I saw a good many times. How when the mine shafts had collapsed, he took his boss by the hand and danced.

The poet Rainer Rilke wrote this poem after watching a Spanish woman dance:

Spanish dancer

As on all its sides a kitchen-match darts white
flickering tongues before it bursts into flame:
with the audience around her, quickened, hot,
her dance begins to flicker in the dark room.

And all at once it is completely fire.

One upward glance and she ignites her hair
and, whirling faster and faster, fans her dress
into passionate flames, till it becomes a furnace
from which, like startled rattlesnakes, the long
naked arms uncoil, aroused and clicking.

And then: as if the fire were too tight
around her body, she takes and flings it out
haughtily, with an imperious gesture,
and watches: it lies raging on the floor,
still blazing up, and the flames refuse to die –
Till, moving with total confidence and a sweet
exultant smile, she looks up finally
and stamps it out with powerful small feet.

What a powerful display of the energy and imagination of the dancer and the poet.

A verse from Leonard Cohen’s song Dance me to the End of Love sees dance as a rhythm and movement of life and love that holds us, carries us, soothes us,  comforts us and heals us.

“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love”
― Leonard Cohen

And the Sufi poet Rumi sees the dance as a great spiritual force that takes us through the events of life, and gives us a great depth of freedom of soul.


Dance when you’re broken open.

Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.

Dance in the middle of fighting.

Dance in your blood.

Dance when you’re perfectly free


Like Zorba, let the dance of life and love flow in your veins and dance through whatever comes.

Bob Commin

Refer to my other reflections

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