I am a dance gypsy and for long I have known that I prefer to dance with people I don't know. The more I know about the people I dance with, the less I can let go. But I am not here to explain the complications of dancing with people you know. I am here to explain the joys of dancing with people you don't know.
I could not get that swing out of my mind's eye: nothing like it had ever happened before. I love to swing. I glide. I'm quick. I've been complimented on my swing, but this, this was different.
She was my size, compact, muscular. The last figure of the dance involved a figure eight and then a swing by the active couple. We seemed to snake toward each other and then I crouched a little, she did too. We were eye to eye, inches apart, and the swing was unbelievably fast yet unbelievably smooth. I could not tell who was swinging who, who was accelerating, decelerating. Our eyes were locked, inextricably locked. I could not wait for the next swing, and once, I happened to catch the expression on the face of an inactive man, watching us: he was mesmerized, awestruck. It was phenomenal. She was my twin in dance -- if in nothing else. My intensity was mirrored in her, her intensity found a kindred spirit in me.
And that same weekend a ravishingly beautiful, stunningly beautiful woman, asked me if she could have the next dance. I was beyond belief flattered. Once again, there was a long swing, and she leaned back, I swung wide, locked in a lovely wide swinging embrace. During one of those long & lovely swings I told her she was very beautiful.
That same weekend, at the end of still another dance, one woman blurted out, almost explosive in here praise: "You were wonderful. You smiled the whole time. You never stopped smiling and moving." She made clear to me why others like to dance with me: I do smile the whole time -- and I smile at my partner -- who in this case smiled & flirted back. It was a long dance, a lovely dance, as we moved across great spaces in groups of three couples. At first she seemed subdued, but soon, in response to me, she grew animated, and I loved dancing with her. The combination me -- and she -- made our twosome so lively.
Do you begin to see the joys a dance gypsy encounters? These people don't know me as a person. They know me as a dancer and nothing else. In a sense, their reaction is pure, unfiltered by a personality -- as is my reaction to them. We carry no personal "baggage" to the dance floor. The dance gypsy gets to dance freely: I do not know you, you do not know me -- except insofar as we are dancers.
All I am really saying has been said before in a different way: you tell your deepest secrets to a stranger -- on a train, or a boat: people you will never see again -- people who will never see you again. That is, in part, the joy of being a dance gypsy. But there is much more to it than that.
I will not belabor the obvious: you get to dance to some great bands. You hear callers from all over the U.S.A. You discover, and dance, dances youve never danced before. You find out where other people dance and how often they convene to dance. There are so many reasons to be a dance gypsy. There are so many joys to being a dance gypsy.
Copyright © 2001 Henry Morgenstein