Tuesday, September 09, 2008

the universal language

I know I should've posted this earlier, but I didn't really have much time (you know, with the non-existence of free wireless internet connection, the jet-lag, and the work-on-monday thing), so I kind of postponed it. I hope the sparks are still there right now as they had been a few nights ago.

There has always been something fascinating about dancing, all kinds of it. I remember when I was in the primary school, dance was something that was obligatory to be learned. It was one of my favourite subject. The exhilarating feel of it was something that I kept looking forward to each week. My friends and I did a Papuan dance during the farewell party.

I also took piano lessons from an early age, but apparently, playing music is not my forte. The school where I took piano lessons also offered ballet classes and I begged Mom to let me join. But I was too preoccupied with the real school that even piano classes got my hands (and fingers) full.

There was almost no dance happening during junior and senior high. My best friend and I joined the theatre troupe (how gay was that?) but we never acted in anything. There was one time when we helped with the make-up and tragically, due to time limit, the troupe didn't perform. The poor souls were heartbroken.

After more than ten years without dancing (I only danced in clubs and during very few moments when I was in college), I practically had two left feet when I joined the aerobic / dance classes at the gym. One is salsa class and the other is body jam - where they combine movements from jazz, ballet, break, salsa, and hip hop dances. I had problems during the first classes, and although I am still having problems, they're less annoying.

When the gym renovated and added two more studios, they asked the members what classes they wanted, and, without hesitating, I wrote down "belly dance". Before me, there was another member who requested the class. When the studios were complete, they opened the class and, oh my, so many members come to each class. I am the only male there, unsurprisingly, with the exceptions of a few classes when my friend came. It was a nice change (since he dances well) and I wish he would come in more often.

A few nights ago when I was still in Athina, Greece, the tour included a dinner with Greek music and dance shows. We were brought to a district called Plaka, famous for its dining scenes, to a restaurant called Tavern New Riga. There, we were treated with traditional Greek music (the singers greeted us in many languages, although not in Indonesian) and dances, including Zorba and what was supposedly a belly dance.

Traditional Greek Dance performed in a restaurant called "Tavern New Rigas"
in Plaka District of Athina, Greece

I didn't stop smiling when I saw the dances and I realised that they indeed speak the same universal language. When listening to music with vocalised lyrics, you may understand the melodies but if you don't know the language, you won't be able to decipher it quickly. Mom and I don't know more than four phrases in Greek ("kalimera" or "good morning", "efcharisto" or "thank you" and "kucha-kucha" and "sigha-sigha" which mean slowly) but we had the time of our lives.

Dance is a whole lot different. Whenever I see someone dancing, even in the clubs when he's dancing weirdly, I could still feel that he's having a good time. There are so many things that can be achieved through dancing. You can forget your problems, you can work out a sweat and produce endorphine, you can even make money out of it!

That's why I'm not so shy about bobbing my head or even moving my upper body or my feet a little when I hear a song I like wherever I am.

But of course, when you dance something traditional, you'd better be well prepared. Like Ms. Maria Aya (one of my belly dance teachers) told me once, "The music, the movements, and the costume must be in line with each other," in other words, you can't do a Tango to a Salsa song with a Flamenco dress.

That'll just be plain ridiculous.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Was that tidbit directed at me? *grin*

I will come to class more regularly (or at least try to), just as soon as I manage to sort out this 'thing'. Promise!

p.s. Thank you for the compliment! ^^'

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