Tag Archives: dance

7 minute dance party

It’s been a helluva year. This Prime Project is nearing the end. I started it on my 53rd birthday last year as a way to remind myself that it ain’t over yet. I’ve still got a lot of juiciness in me.

My father recently wrote, “You only have a few more weeks as a particular prime number, but you certainly won’t be leaving the domain of prime numbers and the many interesting things that arise from consideration of them. (See class notes, Number Theory 445, Fall, 1964, Arizona State University, taught by Charles Wexler, PhD, one of the coolest instructors I’ve ever had in a lifetime of going to school.)

“54, of course, can be factored into 2 times 3 cubed, thereby making great use of the first two primes. Along a similar line of thinking, I hit 2 to the fourth power times 5 this year. Interesting things, them primes.”

So, evidently, we’re both still prime numbers.

On this year’s birthday, March 7 (fabulous prime), I’ve engineered a 7 Minute Dance Party. Wherever you happen to be on Tuesday, anytime between 12:42 a.m. and 11:59 p.m, get up and groove! Shake a tail feather! Move your booty, cutie!

(Yes, I was born at 12:42a.m on March 7, according to my birth certificate. At Luke’s Air Force Base outside Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States of America. John F. Kennedy was President.)

Here’s a list of some of my favorite dance songs, in no particular order:

  • Oh Happy Day by The Edwin Hawkins Singers
  • Happy by Pharrell
  • Trois Gymnopedies by Eric Satie
  • Chez Seychelles by Beausoleil
  • Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye
  • Respect Yourself by the Staples Singers
  • Everyday People by Sly & the Family Stone
  • R.E.S.P.E.C.T. by Aretha Franklin
  • Joy to the World by 3 Dog Night
  • Rock Lobster by the B-52s
  • Hallelujah Chorus by Handel
  • All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
  • Master & Commander soundtrack
  • Bach Cello Suites by Yo-Yo Ma
  • …and anything with bagpipes
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SLO March

It’s Saturday morning, January 21, and I’m nervous.

I’m on my way to the Women’s March in San Luis Obispo (SLO), in support of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. I don’t know what to expect. I’m a pacifist, but are the other marchers? What about the on-lookers? or the ones who voted for Voldemort? Will there be violence? Will I be arrested? Harmed?

I don jewelry from both grandmothers, a necklace for a dead friend, my red wool coat, my purple marching boots, and finally my cowgirl hat. I’m ready. ID, debit card, cash, and phone in various pockets, so I can march without a purse.

It’s easy to find Mitchell Park, the starting point. I can hear the rally from blocks away, and I follow the streams of people carrying signs and banners downtown.

“¿Allá?” asks a woman holding a Freedom! sign. She gestures down the street.

“Sí,” I say, and our paths converge.

“I’m Courtney,” says another woman in answer to my introduction. “This is my husband Kai.” We both admit to being excited.

Hispanic, Caucasian, Black, Indian, Native, Asian; babies, elders, teens, adults; hippies, veterans, bellydancers, students, poets, doctors — we are all smiling at each other, thrilled that so many thousands have shown up on this wintry day in central California.

The signs are fabulous:
Now you’ve pissed off Grandma!
We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn
Bridges not Barriers
We are PRO American
We the People are WATCHING

I drift away from the gazebo and the rallying crowds. I spy orange and pink feathers on several heads in the street. Could it be? Yes! A samba band! I make my way over there, and that’s where I am when the march starts. The band starts playing, and I start dancing. I danced the entire route.

This is my kind of revolution.

Women's March San Luis Obispo

dance it out

Sometimes I have so much to say that I can’t say anything. I don’t know where to begin. So I dance. I can express anger, sorrow, bewilderment, power, joy, longing, satisfaction, and fear with my body. I don’t even need that much space, but it’s nice if I have it. Outdoors is fun, weather permitting.

For some reason, though I majored in choreography at Cornish College, I do not dance as often as I like or need. It seems to be, must be, similar to my need for the ocean. Looking at it’s fine and dandy for a while, but it ain’t the real thing, the jump-in-the-friggin-cold-ass-water deep-seated need. Like a vitamin. I think dance is that way for me, too: a vitamin, a mineral, a necessary component for a healthy body.

When I was 26 I thought my dancing days were over, and even wrote a poem to that effect. So going to Cornish to study dance at age 30 was a revelation. I wasn’t even the oldest dancer there. (I was second oldest, if you don’t count the teachers, and why wouldn’t you?)

Turns out, my definition of dance is too narrow. Can you move your body through space? with or without music? You can dance.

“We can dance if we want to,” sing Men Without Hats.

I want to.

Elizabeth Shé performs her work, Love Translated Too, in downtown Olympia WA USA
Elizabeth Shé performs her work, Love Translated Too, in downtown Olympia WA USA