Three Words That Can Change Everything…Dance With Me
BY DAVID THOMAS MOORE
The lights dim, and in the distance is the simmering tinging of a hi-hat ready to go to work. The patchwork floor is clear and clean, like a snow that has yet to be traversed in early January. Chairs are pushed slightly back from rounded tables so men of distinction may enjoy coffee with one leg jauntily perched upon the other. So elegant women adorned with satin and pearl may sit in anticipation with their hands on their knees, their ankles anxiously rocking, calling to all who would notice that the feet attached are ready to move – to be swept around the now hushed room. The last band member settles in. The last page of black notes and messily scribbled music cues is put into place. And then, with a rim-shot that cracks the air like starter’s gun the music begins, filling the silent void with the sounds of Gershwin, Bernstein, Piazzolla, and Puente. One by one, little by little, whether by courage or an extra glass of pinot noir, couples make their way through the maze of banquet tables and capes strewn over chairs to cross the line where the carpet becomes wood, and there, they begin to move. A static scene stirred to life. He slides through the crowd with a confident grace. She tells herself not to get excited. There are many women around her, after all. He could approach any of them. But there is no mistaking his course. It does not deviate, and it does not pause. It leads him to the chair that she has pushed back, hoping, waiting. She stops rocking her ankles, and through one flirtatiously curled bang hanging gently across her forehead, she cuts her eyes to his. He smiles, offers a hand, and says the only thing that mattes in this moment… “Dance with me.”
What is in the peculiar ambrosia of a song that calls us, begs us to dance? Why do we feel so compelled to hold another person in our arms, or be held, and move to the siren’s song? How can the simple act of swaying and stepping and rising and falling become a language more clear than any spoken word? No doubt there are biologists and psychologists, therapists and theorists who would gladly offer explanations. But ask anyone who has ever felt the ground slide beneath their feet as if they themselves were still and the whole world were shifting below to explain the thrill of floating. Ask anyone who has ever moved a hip, or raised a shoulder or an eyebrow to the sensual pulse of a Cuban drum section to describe the fire that burns deep within them, calling them to live life with a passion supposedly reserved for the young and the brave. Ask a lover to explain why he cannot say, “I love you,” any better than when he pulls her close. Ask her to tell you how it feels to see his hand reach for hers. Chances are they will have no answer. They will simply invite you to dance, and in doing so, find it for yourself.
The moment is coming. The moment when the lights will dim and the hi-hat will sizzle. The moment when words are no longer needed and inhibitions must be cast aside if you are to experience that which cannot be explained. The air will be thick with the anticipation of restless souls and restless hearts, eager to feel alive. The band will play, the crowd will part, and the chance will come to offer or receive the only three words that will matter right then. Will you be ready?
Will you dance with me?