Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Bare Essentials

photo by John Kane
The Bare EssentialsI read an interesting article in the NYTimes online yesterday, about “naked” and “nude” and dancing. The article is by Gia Kourlas. Check it out. How we feel about flesh and skin. The article conjures up all sorts of images, prompted by both the dancers’ and audience experiences. I appreciate the beauty.

This makes me think of a book I was given recently: Always a Woman, by Kaylan Pickford. "We are vulnerable and are easily led away from our real selves. Illusion beckons." In physical terms, I have never been "pretty," or, particularly "ugly" - I have only thought of these qualities in physical ways when prompted by physical comparisons to others. More often now I think of "pretty" and "ugly" as qualities of character, energy, levels of refinement, finesse, manners, or a lack of them. I have been very ugly at times (remember that Alberta Hunter line about "a horse with a hat on"?) - and have known many levels of these within me, just as I have recognized whole spectrums within others. I've been both clumsy and coordinated, in thinking, speech, and movement. Grace is as grace does, I'm learning, as I age, and remember. On Sunday, in Kathy Oddenino's seminar, "Love as the Secret of Happiness," I thought about all of the energy I have put into my beliefs - about myself, life, others - and how this shows me I have been loyal to my beliefs, even as I struggled with them (and thought this was love), not loyal to or truly loving of myself. Kaylan Pickford wrote, "I love love stories. I think everyone loves a love story, most of all their own."
Here is my bit:
Close as a breath
To the crystal balls
We still want to read
Our past in our futures,
And our present is cloaked, too,
Sometimes simply symbolized.
I see the lines around my eyes
And my skin changing colors-
I no longer simply wonder
So much as smile, marvel
At this divine machine.

The Bare Essentials of Dance

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