Saturday, July 28, 2012

The three graces

Today I went to the Lowell Folk Festival.  At many of the performances, people got up to dance. A lot of little kids did the jumping-around thing that kids do, which was fun to watch. But in front at the stage with the Irish band, there were three girls who had something special.

None of them looked trained, but they were exceptionally graceful. They had that freedom of movement that comes when you have an impression of what trained dancers look like, but you've never had actual steps drilled into you.

My first instinct was to go over to their parents and say, "They've got talent!  Maybe they'll want to study Irish dance or ballet!"

But part of me quailed at the idea of formalizing their leaps and twirls.  I thought of long hours at the studio, auditions, stage fright, eating disorders, bleeding feet.

I watched, in love with their beauty.  They were so free, so confident in their own bodies.  Their grace was uninhibited by any fear of looking foolish.  How can we, as adults, recapture that?

I got up and joined them.  Some other women with bad tans and obvious Irish dance training appeared.  Soon there were lots of us, skidding on the dance floor that was slippery from rain.  We sprang and twirled, slipping, laughing, falling down.

As the band was packing up, I approached two of the girls.  "I had so much fun watching you dance," I told them. "Keep having fun."

Video of these dancers and more from the festival.

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