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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Shall we dance?


Two nights ago my husband and I watched this movie. There were several things in it I was not too crazy about, but there was enough in it that I liked to make it worth mention. I love to dance. I love to swing dance especially with someone who really knows how to do it - to dip an everything. There is something wonderful about flying across the slick floor with a silly grin of happiness on your face.

Dancing has been a part of my family's history for a long time. Many years ago my grandfather sat in the balcony of the local dance hall and watched who would become my grandmother swinging away with her girlfriends. After many nights he worked up the courage to ask her to dance. They danced for years and years together as husband and wife. When my grandfather could no longer physically dance, he still shared with me the wonder of that time to him. After more than 50 years of marriage he still had that same love for her, that same affection that he had so many years ago.

My mother and her husband can really dance. I mean they can really swing, they can waltz, they look *good* on the dance floor. I envy their ability to have such fun! They taught us to waltz for our first wedding dance. You see, we are young enough not to have learned how to dance in our public schools. What a shame! We missed something - the schools missed something there - by taking out the dance classes. I think there is a sense of accomplishment when you learn to glide like that with a partner. It was the one solidly beautiful and completely ours-alone moment in our entire reception. We stepped away from the crowd, from the frenetic pace of the day, to have that special moment together and it is forever etched in my mind.

There was some very beautiful dancing in Shall we dance?, but that is not only what I liked. I liked what Susan Sarandon said about marriage. She was asked: "Why do people get married?" Her answer was interesting to me: because we want a witness to our lives. We want someone to mark our being here and to care that we are. At the end of it all, it will not matter much if all our laundry got done on time - and I guess that is a good thing because I will not be known for that. It will not even matter if we have read all the great books we wish to read, but what will matter is what notice we have taken, of our children, of our spouse, of our extended families, of our friends, and most importantly, of our God.

I pray that in the busyness of my life that I take notice, that I love all that I can, that I am a witness for what matters.

Dancing with my man,
Kate

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shall We Dance? is high on my list of favorite movies, not for kids, but thought-provoking for adults. I think Susan Sarandon's character finally realized that she had stopped being a witness to her husband's life. Nothing was really wrong between them, but she was too busy to notice him. Their daughter was more observant of her dad than Susan was. Good reminder for us long-married folk: don't forget to notice!
~Anne

Puppdaddy said...

*sniff*. I haven't seen it, but I'm pretty sure the preview made me cry. That's not saying much. I'd cry during a Lysol Disinfectant commercial if they played the right music. :)
Surprise surprise, I love to dance. Freshman year of H.S. we had a mandatory 3 weeks of dance in P.E. and I loved it. We learned The Swing, and Heather Hunt and I came in 2nd in the Swing contest (the couple who got first were mixing in the Lindy and the Shag, I think). Ever since I've been a dancin' fool. My lovely DW has indulged me on several occasions. In addition to her wry intelligence, biting wit, cat-like gait and intoxicating laugh, she's completely rhythm-deaf. She can dance, mind you -- just not to our normal, elementary rhythms. She is quite advanced and hears in music the complex, inner rhythms that are so developed and concise that they are, um, arhythmic.
-1st White Guy on the Floor

Patty in WA said...

I'm so out of touch. I thought you were talking about a Fred and Ginger movie, and couldn't figure out what was not to like. Maybe there was a 40s stereotype of a drunk or something...

Sigh.

Kim said...

My mother just mentioned that movie to me, and how much she enjoyed it. My 15yo dd is interested in seeing it. Do you think it would be appropriate?

Patty in WA said...

I'm so out of touch. I thought you were talking about a Fred and Ginger movie, and couldn't figure out what was not to like. Maybe there was a 40s stereotype of a drunk or something...

Sigh.

Student of History said...

Kim:
I emailed this response to you, but just in case you don't get it here it is:

I would not recommend it for your 15 yo unless you watch it first. There are some very intense/sexy scenes of dancing and then some struggle with sexual identity - it is not meant for children in my opinion. I hope that helps!

:+) Kate

Anonymous said...

I would suggest you see the original movie! It's charming, and much, MUCH more believable because it's about the culture as well as dancing. It was originally a Japanese film. Hollywood seemed to think they could remake something and it simply doesn't work. Sigh.

Student of History said...

Dear Annon:

I intend to, thanks for the suggestion. I agree that Hollywood certainly tends to think it knows best, but I did enjoy certain parts of this movie and look forward to the original!

Kate