Shared Moments

Hello Cats.

It has been quite awhile since we’ve posted something new, the results of being stretched too thin and getting burned out. Susanne and I both pulled back on our activities to seek more balance in our life. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling the urge to write and share more thoughts and discoveries about dancing.

Tonight, I went to a local blues dance, the first one I’ve been to in about a year or so. There was nothing particularly remarkable about it. Some good music, a decent crowd, good atmosphere for the night. I had a few good dances, and met some of the new people that I’ve never seen since I’ve been MIA. As I drove home, a sense of peace came over me, and I thought about the following:

This past year, I’ve taken up running as a way to get myself into shape and to help regulate my emotional well-being. In addition, there’s something about the repetitive nature of the activity that causes me to stay focused, to clear my mind, and to deal with all those nagging thoughts that I so often ignore. On my longer runs, time starts to blur into passing bricks and buildings as those pesky thoughts fade and my focus improves. Running exposes me to the vastness of time, and my relative insignificance in all of it.

But dancing is a different kind of magic. A dance is three minutes, maybe five. Concentrated goodness. A short burst of time to express something incredibly fleeting. Each dance is a shared experience of expression that connects me to something more than I am by myself, the threads of the music, of my partner, the other dancers in the room, the history to which these dancers are all connected, and the future we are building together.

While running processes my thoughts, dancing processes my emotions. While running confronts me with my insignificance, dancing connects me with my humanity. And so, with these words, the silence is ended. Its time to put myself back out into the world.



Filed under Blues Dancing, community, lindy hop

4 responses to “Shared Moments

  1. Michelle

    Poetic! You really make me stop and think. I too started running. I don’t seem to have the same experience that other runners do. The act of running takes all my concentration. Every step is planned and worried over (usually because I’m scared I’ll twist my knee). My arm motion is causing me no end of trouble (usually because I’m holding my hands too high and messing with my heart rate). I actually do think of my running in terms of 3-5 min segments because I couldn’t get through a run without a stream of music to push me through. Every song is a victory. Every run is a mountain of an accomplishment. I feel proud (and relieved) after a run. I feel happy (and peaceful) after a dance.

  2. Tom

    When I was in law school and taking a forced break from swing dancing, I would run about 3 miles each night. However, as time as inevitably progressed, my body doesn’t appreciate the pounding so much (sciatica). So, I bought a seated elliptical. I can watch True Blood while trying to lose weight.

  3. Beautiful post, Craig. I’m glad you’re back and I’m sorry that I stayed home last night and missed dancing with you. But since we’re talking about the topic of balance, I’m sure you’ll understand. 😉

    A few weeks ago I was walking home and stumbled across a pair of dancers who happened to be moving into my neighborhood. They’re young kids and enthusiastic, the kids you’ll see at every dance. The kind of kids we used to be when we used to go out dancing *every* night for years on end. Instead of talking about the neighborhood or the house or restaurants nearby, they started remarking that I didn’t go to the ballroom enough. I mean they went on and on about it! They meant well…but what they don’t realize yet: after 10 years, it’s important that your life get a little bigger, a little more balanced.

    I like the balance you’ve found between running and dancing. As Michelle said–poetic!

    • craigsparks

      Yeah, I saw that Rayned was DJ-ing. It was one of the main things that motivated me to get out. I was hoping I’d see you there, too, but I know I will see you soon enough. . .in the park, or at yoga, or for a meal sometime. Its all part of that bigger world out there.

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