When I was a kid, my sister and I loved to do little performances together in our living room. Always the outgoing one, my sister would put on Petulia Clark's "Downtown" (remember that one, we had it on vinyl!), and sing along. Being the shy one, I could never bring myself to raise my voice, so instead I would dance, using movement to express all the childish joy I took in that song. Many years later I am still too shy to sing most of the time, but I will dance at the drop of a hat. Dancing gives voice to everything I feel, everything I was to say. More importantly, it is a way of reaching out to others, trying to share something special and fleeting, and inviting them to join in.
This weekend I had the singular experience of performing as part ofevent. My student dancers and I presented several works-in-progress, and I also danced several duets with violinist Daisy Jopling and singer Tom Spinella. It was so wonderful to see people come streaming in the door as soon as the music and movement started. We initiated a conversation with all these people we didn't know, and they responded. The moment was brief, for as soon as the dances ended and the applause died down most of them moved on to other venues. But while we were all in the studio together, it brought me back to my afternoon performances with my sister, and I experienced that same childish joy all over again. And that is why I dance.