Nobody knows this about me, because I really don’t talk about myself much, but I used to be a dancer. Modern dance, that is. I didn’t dance for long; mostly just while I was in college, and I’ve choreographed and performed a little bit since then, from time to time. I last performed for a local dancer/choreographer at a museum opening here in town. We were all dressed in silky pajamas.
But there’s been one constant source of dance for me in Austin, for the past 6 years. It’s called Body Choir, and it’s a non-performance, sweaty, howling, dance-your-ass-off-until-you’re-seeing-God kind of experience. I explained it to D this way: when I’m dancing with Body Choir, it’s like being a pagan charismatic Christian. You know the charismatics – they’re the ones who shake and tremble and speak in tongues, “ulla gulla ooba nooba dooby” etc. I know because I once went to one of their churches with my born-again-Charismatic roommate who was trying to cure me of my suicidal tendencies by having her church-friends pray on me. They were saying “ulla gulla ooba nooba dooby” and falling to the floor. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.
Which is what a lot of people do upon first witnessing a Body Choir jam. Body Choir sort of reminds me of that charismatic church, except the feel is New Agey, not Christiany. But the people there are shaking the Earth and seeing God. Since joining BC, I’ve begun to appreciate that aspect of the charismatic experience. Nowadays, when I’m dancing with all my crazy sweaty grooving friends, I am shaking, trembling, and just about speaking in tongues. Not to mention writhing on the floor, flying through the air, spinningspinningspinningspinning, being lifted like a tiny ballerina (which I most decidedly am not), doing handstands, and making intricate, complicated body-shapes with a myriad of linked people. I didn’t know I could do that. I couldn’t even do this shit when I was 22 and limber and had a little butt. Handstands? Lifts? Good God.
Today I had a very restless day for which the only cure could be getting wasted and going for a swim in the Colorado, having screaming sex for 3 hours or dancing at Body Choir. Well, I don’t get drunk any more, and we have a child and only one bedroom, so I put on my sweats and headed out. Let me set the scene for you. It’s in a huge, dimly-lit yoga studio. You walk in barefoot. Nobody’s talking, but there’s lots of sighing, some groaning, and laughter as somebody falls off somebody else. In one corner there’s a 57 year old woman rolling around on somebody you can’t quite make out. Next to them is a guy in shorts and a tie-dye with a long white beard smiling and swaying back and forth. Working the sound system is my good friend Charro, a short man with Mayan features, wearing a tee-shirt and a sarong. I go give him a HUGE hug, then get down to bizniss with the beat.
But the restlessness doesn’t fade. I’m jogging in place, doing push-ups, rolling on the floor, moshing with Charro, jumping up and down, and I can’t shake it. It’s one of those terrible desire feelings, a thirst I can’t quench, for what, I don’t know. But it’s serious.
But then Roshni materializes in front of me. Roshni is my Body Choir girlfriend. I’m always watching the door to see if she’ll show up, because I LOVE dancing with her. Plus I’ve had a crush on her for about 300 years. For the moment I ‘m caught up in the feverish energy of Roshni’s Dance of Chaos. But then, when the song ends and we hug and laugh and wave goodbye, the torturous feeling comes back.
Then I see him. Across the crowded room. Through the dim light and pulsating music. It’s Orlando. No! It couldn’t be! But it is. Pretty, pretty Orlando Bloom. He looks to be about 25, thin and muscular, with gorgeous brown eyes and long wavy chestnut hair, a little goatee and the grace of a gazelle. My cure. I must get to him. I start across the room in a trance.
Then this ugly old guy pops up in front of me, wanting to dance. He’s a nice gent, a real sweet old dude, and I always enjoy dancing with him, so I do. When that song ends and we part ways, I look all around for Orlando and spot him again. I start making my way toward him, feeling my heart beating. Then another ugly old guy pops up in front of me, wanting to dance. He’s another really nice guy, somebody I like to dance with, but I’ve got to get to Orlando, so I smile and politely edge by him. But lo! Some other woman has now taken my young buck! He’s been abducted by that goddess-woman I can’t stand, the one wearing a choli and coin belt and who obviously has her teeth bleached periodically. I hate when white women wear cholis and coin belts to Body Choir. Especially her. Especially now. Poor Orlando, he’s just smiling nervously as she shimmies around him with predator eyes.
What can I do? I sit down against the wall, mad and sullen, feeling betrayed. I try to get back on my feet and dance, but if I can’t have Orlando, I don’t even want to dance.
Oh my god! There he is! Right next to me! It’s my time. The young stallion will soon be mine. Now is my chance. But fuck, goddamn it, another dorky guy gets in front of me! It’s this tall, skinny man with squinty eyes and glasses and pale pale legs. And why is it always old guys?! I’m about to push past him and pounce on my handsome prince, but something stops me. This nerd has been coming to BC for 4 or 5 years. And I’ve never once danced with him. Hm. That’s sort of unusual. And he won’t get out of my goddamned way. So, heaving a sigh, I accept his invitation.
Then. It gets freaky. The nerd suddenly breaks out the most unusual, energetic, intriguing moves I’ve ever seen in this place. This skinny dude’s got some kind of rhythm! He’s bouncing all over the place, sliding, winding around, showing off some serious hip-hop skills! Plus a bunch of modern dance training – and soon I’m winding around with him, smiling from here to Amarillo, panting in my effort to keep up with this unlikely nerdly wizard genius of dance. I dance and dance with him, and he keeps pushing up his glasses because the g-force of his turns keeps sliding them down his beak of a nose. Then he’s spinning me, and my glasses are the ones that need securing. Then I’m laughing and laughing because this guy has totally gotten the better of me – I’m falling on the floor, and he just keeps dancing and grinning and gesturing for me to get back up. But I can’t because I’m laughing so hard and I can’t catch my breath. Then the song is over, and he hefts me to my feet with one bony-looking but somehow unbelievably powerful arm. Laughing still, I stagger away, my head reeling, over to a place where I will now sit and regain my composure.
After the dance, I go find the guy, thank him for knocking me off my feet, and introduce myself. He says, “nice to meet you. I’m Edgar.” Edgar. His eyes are full of sweet mischief. Talk about charismatic.
Orlando isn’t even on the map.
I come home lightheaded but happy at last, smelling of sweet sweat and Roshni’s perfume.