Tag Archives: dance

The Hero with 1000 Dances

I like language and I like dancing
I like spinning yarns and I like turning pirouettes
I like epic, sweeping quests and I like loud, sweaty parties
I like twists…and I like twirls

I’ve often noted how many similarities my two passions share.

Learning a foreign language is very like learning a new style of dance. You master some basic words—some moves, but for them to make sense, you need a grasp of the grammatical forms—the foundations of the dance. As you begin to root your moves in a strong foundation, you can progress more easily to stringing them into sequences—like sentences. In both language and dance, you want to enrich your vocabulary and in both cases, when you nail the accent, you show a depth of understanding. And, as we all know, to truly understand a language, it helps to learn about the culture it comes from: its ancestors, its food—the music that feeds it. Then you can start to tell stories, to express yourself fluently and fluidly, and to freestyle—to use slang, to play, to make jokes. To have a conversation.

And it was when I began learning lindy and salsa and bachata that the idea of conversation became even more poignant and applicable. At first, with partner dancing, I felt I must learn to listen better, in order to follow my partner. I became attentive, a rapt listener, following their tales with their twists and turns; and to their mood: the highs and lows of their sombre soliloquies, playful anecdotes, sultry love notes and euphoric exclamations; and I responded to them appropriately. But no one can listen all the time and I learned that even as you follow, you contribute to the exchange. I also learned that a good partner, in both dance and conversation, allows the other the space to add to the dialogue, to insert a joke, ask a question, even sometimes to change the subject. Sometimes you dance with someone and it’s a slow, considered, life-affirming exchange of ideas in which we say, “That’s interesting, tell me more,” or ask, “What do you think about that?” Sometimes we engage in a fast paced witty repartee, snappily one-upping, knowingly teasing or taunting, and you can spend the whole dance going back and forth with whip-smart banter. That is, if you want to. Sometimes, a partner is so charismatic that you give them your hand, and with it all your senses, and plunge headlong into their story, which, like all good stories, lifts you out of yourself and spirits you away, and you simply sail along upon it.

Just now, I am buried in the grit and grind of crafting stories—how to dig into them and make them soar and crash at just the right moments. I’m entrenched in how to vary the pace and tempo, how to endow the hero with the treasures and secrets she needs at just the right moment, how to give him the tools to claw his way out of the dark night of the soul and make it home with the answers. Naturally—and as you may have guessed—my quest has led me to Joseph Campbell, author of “The Hero with 1000 faces”. Amongst the countless enlightenments I’ve found in his writings thus far, I was particularly struck by this:

“Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure…Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco.”

And how, once again, what is true in stories is true on the dancefloor. Because, isn’t that absolutely the case every time you step into the cypher or take the hand offered to you? Isn’t every dance a mini adventure of its own?

And in the adventure, as Joseph says, “There’s always the possibility of a fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.”


Nyooooooo Shoooooozzz

– and the very visceral response they inspired.

Perhaps it’s just me. But I suspect not. Do you ever re-purpose songs to match what you’re doing?

For example, I never seen this…

lock the taskbar

The shareef don’t like it

…without humming The Clash.

And whenever we go here:

maggie choos bangkok

I sing (in my head… usually), ‘Maggie, Maggie Choooooooos’ to the tune of Boney M’s classic, Daddy Cool.

And the moment that I spied these molten beauties winking naughtily at me was no exception.

gold ked-style plimsolls

No sooner had they seduced me into procuring them, weaseled their magical way onto my wiggly feets, that the ol’ cranial orchestra struck up a jaunty ditty to mark the occasion.

The song in question, was (for reasons fairly obvious) New Shoes by Paolo Nutini. It goes like this:

And I,  indeed,  went like this:

happy feet in new shoes

Hey, I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything is right,

moves in my shoes from Zalora brand Ezra

I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody’s smiling, it’s so inviting,

back slide like a pro

Oh, short on money, but long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,

no excuse new shoes

I’m running late and I don’t need an excuse, coz I’m wearing my brand new shoes


– Buying new shoes may not be a clinically approved cure for depression.

– Your friends may not consider your recently purchased footwear an adequate excuse for tardiness.

Additionally, on closer inspection, Paolo’s little tune, while indisputably catchy, seems to be about some crafty moccasins that have some sort of adverse effect on the wearer wherein he develops short term amnesia, coming to only to discover his friends have been enjoying a frenzied, debauched bender in his house during his unconscious episode. Say no to clog-drugs, kids.

Unlike some fashion snobs, I have no compunction about sharing whence come these little masterpieces du pied. The sneakily gorgeous sneakers featured above came from online fever (perhaps related to the fever that knocked out dear Paolo)  – a rather nifty new Thai brand (buy local, guyzz).

And on the subject of sharing, if you enjoy the sort of silly scribbling in evidence above, you may be interested to know know i have started a new tumblr dedicated to my ridiculous little visual jokes.

Disclaimer part deux: if you do not enjoy crudely scrawled cartoons rendered solely for the sake of a laboured pun,  definitely don’ t click here: punbletumble.tumblr.com