Usually On Sundays

Many years ago I saw “Never On Sunday” with the lovely Melina Macuri. She was dazzling: at once both technically proficient and magnetically gorgeous.  I wanted to be her for sure. But, to watch her, to experience her was a little piece of ecstasy, a dip into the fine art of screen acting.  Today I enjoyed another small dip-this time at the “Usually on Sundays” Ecstatic dance event at the Tiffany Center in SW  Portland.  I’d wanted to visit for more than couple of years, but preaching, also usually on Sunday morning, usually took precedence. Now that my Sundays are free, and responding to my friend, Michael’s kind offer to show me the ropes, I went.  I stood with Michael in the opening circle and got the basics including permission to sit at the side and watch, which is what I did right after Michael danced off to the other side of the room, retreating as it were. I counted over 150 souls in the circle, a good sized group which pretty much filled the large floor.  Most people seemed to carve out a small area and dance within it, while some meandered in and thru, making their way around the floor. Seldom were any discernible dance steps or moves to be seen, accepting one fellow who was clearly classically trained and couldn’t refrain from lovely pirouettes on occasion and always with toes pointed. Otherwise the floor seemed devoid of training or technique, but not of joy. Smiles of delight and pleasure were plentiful. After a while Michael came to check on me and I confessed that I have been dancing like this for years–at home in my kitchen or living room, but never with a room of strangers. “Yes, it’s quite intimate,” he replied.  The earlier music didn’t inspire me, so I didn’t feel bad sitting out, just observing. But it was changing now and Michael was inviting me to the floor to tango. Because it was not traditional tango music, it was edgy tango-and Michael and I dance well together, a good connection, fun and playful…….then he was moving in a linear fashion saying, “Let’s take a walk.” So we danced a little journey walk, he leading me, around the outside of the floor, pausing for a bit of tango here and there.  Back in our beginning place, I found I couldn’t pivot well, being barefooted on a hardwood floor, and went for my flat dance shoes. Like Goldilocks, someone was sitting in my chair. It was an older fellow I’d seen earlier who had been moving as able, given his walker, just shifting weight really; a beautiful and very tall woman dancing in front of and around him, helping him enjoy the music and movement. I though when I saw them, “What a dear person she is, how kind!” I excused myself as I reached for my shoes under the chair and assured him I didn’t need it and that he was fine. Then, armed (footed?) and ready, I was back with Michael to the end of the session. There was a closing circle where a few people shared their happiness at being there, and it was over.  We left together and headed downstairs. I’d gotten Michael’s book and wanted him to sign it for me. I think it’s amazing to have finished a book and had it published. Now that I’m into the book, the amazement turns to admiration and deep respect. We said goodbye at the door and headed in opposite directions. I’m grateful to have been introduced to ecstatic dance, though it may turn out not to be my public dance genre in the end. Even so, thanks to Michael, the ecstatic tango was most satisfying.

About tangobunny

Pastor Bunny went on sabbatical leave to Argentina July 28-November 4, 2010, funded by a pastoral renewal grant from the Lily Foundation. It was her second visit to AR. Since then she's been back three more times and toured the country. She loves the Argentine people as much as the tango and calls Argentina her other home.
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