The Dance

Seductive ladies dressed in brightly colored, long flowing, backless gowns with thigh high skirt slits, sit almost motionless at small candle lit tea tables at the edge of a polished hardwood floor.  In the shadows slowly cruise men in black, carefully choosing their target while summing their courage to act.  And then ….the first strands of a charged tango melody pierce the air.

First one black form then another leaves the darkness of the surrounding shadows and with purpose head held high stride to the beat of the music across the expanse of the open dance floor.  The only sound is that of the instruments. Not a word is spoken by anyone just the quick, quick, slow of the tango rhythm.

Standing at almost attention, eyes straight ahead, soldier ready in the candle glow of his chosen table he extends his right hand palm up.  The seated lady taking little notice, making no eye contact, as if in her own dream world, slowly places her left hand, palm down upon her suitor’s thus accepting his offer without a word or a shared look between.

He preforms a small bow then a step back he continues to hold her hand as she lifts from the chair revealing the full extent of her beauty.

With the flow of the dance counterclockwise around the room he frames the couple, strong, upright and steady with his embrace. She the color, the fabric within the frame responds to his lead with reaching steps of extended line from toe through hip in a swirl of dazzling gown.

Quick, quick, slow then there is a pause. The classic tango pause.  Each stops and holds their place within the dance and with a sudden turn of the head they look for the first time, directly into each other’s face, eye to eye.  Then just as sudden they look away in unison outward toward their out stretched clasped hands and so continue the circle route of the dance around the room, now cheek to cheek.

Having experienced each other’s touch within the tango embrace for the customary three songs their introduction is complete with a final showy spin.  He with head above the crowd surveys the surroundings and gains his bearings, collects his lady, she taking his arm and they stroll back to her seat at the sideline table awaiting her arrival.  He holds her chair. Thanks her for the dance. The first words by either during their brief encounter.  She in like thanks him before again assuming her dream state in the candle glow, to wait her next awakening from a hand held palm side up.

Do the Locomotion!

I was a substitute teacher in a first grade classroom last week for a few days. I have been in this classroom several times this year. As with most groups of six and seven year olds, this group is full- twenty individual whirling balls of energy quick to speak out, complain, state their case and move at their own pace, be it fast or slow.

It is always a struggle at the end of the day to get kids to clean up the classroom, pack up their things and be ready to leave on time (especially for those darn buses). Here is my trick. I put fun music on and challenge them. How many songs will it take to be done and ready to leave? I suggest that they can do it in one song, but one and a half is the usual. Then we have time before they rush out the door for a game or a story.

On this particular day, I put on the song “Locomotion” and they headed off to get things done. There was a happy buzz in the room. One has to accept noise when kids are dancing around getting things done quickly. One little guy, usually pokey and rather glum, joined me at the front of the room before Locomotion was over. “I love this song!” he gushed as his little body swayed and moved around me. Being the skeptical teacher, I glanced over at his table. His place was spotless, organized and his backpack was neatly placed under the table as requested. When the song was over, most of the kids had joined us. “Do it again!” they begged excitedly. So I put Locomotion on again and the dancing resumed. Four of the girls made a train, then a few of the boys joined on. I took the hands of the girl at the front and started moving them around the room. Before I knew it, every child in the room was part of the train, dancing individually yet moving together as one long co-operative train. It was very noisy, but I recognized that it was a busy involved noise and resisted the adult urge to tone it down. Towards the end of the song, I led them into one big circle at the front of the room. When the song was over, they all sat quietly with beautiful little smiles where they had stopped at the end of the song looking up at me expectantly. It was almost silent in the room. They were ready to play my “Silent Ball” game…and they were ready to be out the door on time!

The experience blew me away; I had forgotten how much there is to learn from children and how good it feels to allow ourselves some freedom. We cannot constantly be in a quiet subdued serious space. There are times when the need to move and sing and rock and roll just must to take over. Allow it…then the quiet times are much more appreciated and effective. Experiences like this are so needed in our classrooms today…and