Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

The Night of Stick Dances

Ramblings from a Hanky-Free Zone

At Morris practice on Tuesday we stuck our hankies away and danced only stick dances. I'm not quite sure why, but this resulted in a lovely, easy, silly night. This might be because the stick dances are not as physically abusive as the hanky dances, since they involve no splitters or right-toe-backs or infinite unending sequences of sidesteps. We weren't even hungry afterwards, or so folks claimed when we went to Pizza Luce for beer but I ordered us a rich garlicky artichoke dip plate and we gobbled it right down. ("Oh, none for me. Except for this. And this. But no more. Except for some." Those are my boys!)

It was Douglas's idea to try a different sequence to end Headbangers which reminded me of how difficult it can be to explain choreography. In fact, it can be quite tedious indeed. But we were all in the mood to try anything, and to myself I just kept hearing (obsessively) a bit of Sondheim: "Art isn't easy." We struggled to understand the simplest clearest directions and then messed them up each time. Finally we got it, and we danced it, and we said, "Nah. Not worth doing." Art isn't easy.

We ended the evening by dancing the Upton-on-Severn stick dance, extended version, which is not in our tradition and none of us but Douglas really knew it. Me, I'm terrible at picking up a dance as we go, but sometimes you feel game for anything. Once again I remembered that dancing in any other tradition but ours is not near so exhausting. But art isn't easy and the pain is worth it. At one point I walked over to the other side of the room, up onto a stage, and saw how wonderful my team looks from a distance. Even for the stick dances we dance large and high.

Work is both stressful and uncertain for me right now. Crap is going on in the world and I'm obsessively following the newscasts with renewed anger every hour. But for two hours the other night I danced and laughed and listened to our musicians and gave some more old comic books to my young friend Anna, which she devoured with happy intensity. I usually sleep well on Tuesdays.
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