Last Dance.

I could see there were more cars than usual parked outside Sanctuary. In the windows, I saw tealights gleaming. Inside, women stood in hushed groups, under dimmed lights, stretching and trying small shimmies, throwing off the stiffness of the day. I saw faces from the past, women I danced with over a decade ago. Almost everyone was more resplendent than usual: Brighter colours, more veils, louder coin belts. Party clothes for the last dance.

As we warmed up, I felt the differences. Emotions were close to the surface and even though Kim really held it together, joking as usual, there was an edge to her of raw grief. No wonder. She is the High Priestess there.

We had a kind of physical prayer for the space, moving as the music dictated us, connecting to the past through that wonderful old wooden floor. Although there was a part of the class that was reserved for that, the whole class seemed to me to be a prayer. Can you remember the last time you laughed and cried at the same time? I did.

Normally, there’s ‘The Eight O’Clock Dance’, where some of the students bring in a song they love dancing to and we all dance to it. It’s not always Middle Eastern, either. This last Thursday, there were so many CD’s that the Eight O’Clock lasted a good 40 minutes. The music was exactly right: Songs to celebrate. We finished every song with a big cheer, but we were tired by the end, because we were giving every song our everything.

Kim chose the last-last song, and I had wondered what it was going to be. I shouldn’t have wondered. Kim loves “Walking on Broken Glass” beyond reason. We were so tired, so sweaty and wrung out that by that time, a lot of us had stopped belly dancing and were just dancing dancing. Some had their inner rockers coming out. Others swayed as though they were ballroom queens. I saw some two-stepping. We were all beautiful.

It was perfect.

2 Comments to “Last Dance.”

  1. By rachel, August 27, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

    It was perfect, indeed. I am averse to most forms of exercise, but will happily dance myself right into the ground—and I did, over and over and over.

    It’s funny, I never heard “Walking on Broken Glass” played at Sanctuary until that night, but it was mentioned to me, my very first class, by whomever was explaining the concept of the 8 O’clock to me. “You can bring anything,” she said. “One time somebody brought Walking on Broken Glass!” So when it came on, I felt weirdly like I’d gone full circle.

  2. By Liz, August 27, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

    That’s so cool that it was mentioned your first class!

    I came back after several years’ hiatus and was totally surprised by the concept of the Eight O’ Clock. Now I love it.

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