Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

14 October 2005


It doesn't get much peppier than this. This is just a great song, and I cannot sing it worth a darn. The quickness of it leaves me no time to notice what I'm doing right or wrong, and it just makes me tense. Very frustrating. But I can still dance it.

And I love to dance. I hardly ever do it these days, though I've been trying to catch the Saturday afternoon belly dance class here, so well taught by the lovely Olivia. It's a start. Dancing is something else I crave, 'fever in my blood' is not too strong a term, and yet I manage to avoid having time to dance most times by being caught up (yet again) in the minutiae of my life. Fevers can be deadly when the dishes and laundry and lunch need to be dealt with, for starters. But this past week I caught a whiff of it unexpectedly: my husband lent me his MP3 player (and his heart rate monitor, I was briefly high tech runner girl) for my long run on Monday. He had a mostly random mix of songs on, and besides discovering the very cool 'Satin in a Coffin' by Modest Mouse (exactly and utter distractingly my running cadence), I also got caught, as always, by an Erasure song that reminded me how I need to dance. Ok, maybe for you it's not Erasure, maybe that also dates me, but there are oh so many Erasure songs that will get me moving like nothing else, wherever I am. See me dancing, in the kitchen, in the car, in the shopping mall. . . Mom always said that I was the one most likely to break out dancing in a store, as if in a movie when the soundtrack starts rolling.

I've learned much about myself and the way I want to live my life while dancing. I didn't study dance formally while growing up, except for two years of ballet as a kid. I quit after that, never regretting it, and I never did very well in my brief attempts at formal, classical dance classes later. But in college, in the magic time, and even before it, I learned some life lessons dancing:

1. Never be afraid to be the first one dancing. Someone's got to start it. Thanks, Fred.
2. Never be afraid to be the only one dancing. I'll thank Beth Williams for this one, only because it's her music that I first remember finding so irresistible that I just didn't care what anyone else thought.
3. Never be afraid of being ugly when you dance. Thanks, Quentin. In fact, I strongly suspect if I'm totally not afraid of being ugly, I probably never am.
4. Be with your breath. Return again and again to the center of your breath and the dance you need to dance is there, large or small, actively huge or vibratingly tiny. Dunya, you are the most amazing example of how to be utterly present in dance.
5. When you have trouble finding the center, still, return to familiar ritual. I dance the elemental circle, spinning out of it and into the spiral of myself. My body sings under the stars and the big bowl of sky. Thanks for Brushwood.

I can also thank Michael for being my smooth dance partner so many times, and Kenn for being a great mirror, and that guy I never saw again for winning the waltz contest with me, and Zoey for showing me that you can start dancing anything at any age and be utterly beautiful, Andrea for performing with me, Kairol for combining writing and dance and creativity so brilliantly. I could go on and on, and I know I am incredibly lucky to be so blessed with so much recognized inspiration from people I know and love. So I'm crazy to not be dancing more now, when it feeds me so--but I am so much the Renaissance woman, so wanting to do way too many things, and my time and energy are just limited. I'll dance when I can, when the fever burns too suddenly bright. I'll make excuses to do it, take classes to do it, wear clothes I can always move in, play music I love, dance walking down the street, be in this body so fully that the dance is simply a part of me-in-time; there, inspired by my heartbeat and breath, without any thought but 'Now, *This*. . .


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