Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,
Steven
unzeugmatic

Isaac Newton Be Damned

This photo was taken at 3am on Sunday night, at the end of the Midwest Morris Ale, during pickup dancing. That's me in the front. The other dancers are members of my Morris team. We are dancing the last figure of "Mopping the Cedar", an original dance (choreographed mostly by Matt and Mike) to an original tune that Bob Walser wrote.



I should leave the picture to speak for itself, without commentary, but I just can't.

The response to the picture I've seen so far has been admiration for how high off the ground we are. It's true that we are very high off the ground, even accounting for the angle of the photograph (we are probably two feet in the air, perhaps three, but certainly not five or six as it appears). But honestly, that's not the big deal here. Pretty much anybody can jump high in the air. No, this is the big deal, and I am going to have to live up to my team name of "Braggart" to explain this:

It is very very difficult, extraordinarily difficult, to get even two dancers to jump up in the air for a mid-air splitter at the same moment. It requires that both dancers are feeling the music and the rhythm in exactly the same way (and our team's quirky style requires that we feel simultaneous syncopation). It requires a good sense of partnering the other dancer. This sense of unified movement is the major skill and major aspect of Morris that other Morris dancers look for. It is the ultimate goal of good Morris dancing -- unified style and movement among the team. The particular difficulty of unison splitters is that our way of doing splitters is physically very demanding, so you've got to keep up all the dance unity while pushing your body to its limit. Just think of it. Two people moving up high in the air in unison, held aloft by the music itself.

In this picture, there are SIX DANCERS ALL IN THE SAME PLACE HIGH IN THE AIR AT THE SAME TIME AT THE SAME PLACE IN THE HANKY MOVEMENT. Ok, my splitter form is a little weird here for some reason (I remember wondering why my leg went the wrong direction as I leapt in the air for that one particular splitter -- all I can do is assure you on my word that this didn't happen the other three times in that figure which requires four high splitters in a row), but think for a second on what it takes to get six men in the air like this, at the very end of an extremely knackering dance. Consider this as well: During the figures for this dance, we cannot see each other except in the vaguest peripheral way. We are in a circle. Our line of sight does not take in even the dancer directly in front of us.

I was in that set. I remember the feeling of being in that set with an intensity and joy that remains with me still. I was still buzzed the next morning (which, granted, was only four hours later). But when I saw this picture my jaw literally fell open, just like in a cartoon.

Denise said to me afterward that this was a "dance of a lifetime", which I thought a strong statement. I mean, I knew we had never done better, but I wasn't sure we'd gone quite to that level. Then I saw this picture. Even Michael Shewmaker (dancing behind me, his belly peeking out) said, on viewing this picture, that once in a great while we actually do something worth bragging about.

So that's what I'm doing.
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