Born without rhythm, it wasn’t really any surprise it took me so long to (misguidedly) decide I wanted to start dance.
Like your first foreign language, it’s ill-advised to start late in life: it’s not like jogging, or pilates, or weightlifting, or any other accumulation of repetitive movements where you just keep building a layer at a time, ten minutes or kilos or metres more. It’s precise, rigorous. It demands muscle memory, a hyperactive attention to detail, a nonchalance towards bruises and crushed toes. It requires you to look light when you feel like lead.
But it’s also joyous, sexy, and, I have discovered, essential to my basic happiness. It was how I fell head over heels for the love of my life.
I could have chosen something simpler, something I’d actually excel at - French, portraiture, hiking. It doesn’t make any sense that I choose something that requires an inherent sense of rhythm when I spent my teenage years battling with syncopated quavers before finally consigning my saxophone to its velveteen case in the bottom of the closet. I was a jack-of-all trades; in truth, a teachers pet. I topped the class while reading novels under the table - in everything but music.
So it’s humbling now, to stand in a tap class, eighteen months after I first started, and still feel like a two-left-feet dolt, shuffling my feet so as not to give away my mistaken steps. Or to go breaking and miss every single snare hit and stop suddenly, breaking the show of bravado necessary to carry off such an ambitious style of dance. I’m never going to be on a concert hall stage in either discipline, so what’s the point? I could stop tomorrow.
Because it’s important, as an adult, not to simply seek refuge in things we are naturally good at. Because it’s an improbable dream to one day dance with him in the street, thwacking up the DAT-DAT-BAM, Da-DA-Da-dada-BAM, BOOM! with the metal heel taps, walking on my hands on the tarmac. Because it’s important to be humbled, to not give up even when the goal seems insurmountable, even when you have already realised you are not “suited” to the very activity. Genetically challenged, even. It’s important to put the hours in. If you want to do something, why aren’t you doing it?
"I'm from Libya," he said. I don't know what to say. It's as if he'd told me he'd just come from his father's funeral.
The first specialty coffee shop in Ikebukuro and Junkudo (bookstore) resonate.
Editing is interpreting.
The Riddle of Steel.
The man stands motionless in a crush of white-shirted salarymen, as they swarm past him, toward the single escalator.
Rêve de centre commercial-piscine
Birthday walk home