Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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Poem - The Lead's Challenge

Social dancing is a mix of paradoxes. Strangers become near intimates. Proximity marks separation. This is shared by both dancers. The lead, defined as “responsible for guiding the couple and initiating transitions to different dance steps and, in improvised dances, for choosing the dance steps to perform ”, has another paradox. Leading a swing dance is simultaneously my favorite part and my dread. Thankfully more the former! The dread is introduced when the lead must construct something that is accessible, fresh, familiar, daring, and doable within their framework of abilities. Believe me, even experienced dancers are challenged by this. They may have more moves at hand, but the supply is finite in quantity. Factor in dancing with beloved partners, those with whom you've danced with many times, and the challenge for “freshness” and “not boring” seems amplified. The poem “The Lead's Challenge” speaks to the moves available in swing, how they are mixed, the inner magic of dance, and how the lead continues on.

The Lead's Challenge

To lead is a challenge too, enough to make the knees quake.
making fresh the dance again though it's been done a hundred times.
We'll embrace this state, my hand will lead into infinity,
this length of time demands moments cherished by both participants.
The basic step is always there, step step rock step underneath
all the moves piled upon this simple gait we all do.
The couples have positions three, open, closed and side-by-side.
Is it enough for another chance to hold your attention again?

The spins are left and right, away from me or across the front.
The directions interchange as one flows to another, back again.
To the close we'll dance for a passage, pay homage to the song smith's craft.
Pace the footwork to the pulse, dexterity matching the artist's guile.
We'll pivot in a circle to turn you around, find room on the floor to spin you out,
wait for the bridge to complete, swing you out to do your thing.
Hands count the dancer's gap, then back to a cuddle for time
stepping in close proximity until arms lift for your release.

I'll dip to bow to beauty here, knee bent as foot turns in.
Honor given to the only one in my world when we dance.
The DJ plays tunes to inspire, what is left to carry on?
Fancy footwork will commence, the rockstep skipped across.
In the spaces of the beats other dances will compete.
Forms flow in, feet respond, and to the rock step we'll return.
The tune continues at its pace, ours will match with fancy step,
melodies move our feet in syncopation to shared heartbeats.

DJ you have your place, escort across a musical land
where strangers no more dance as lovers fully clothed.
We move to the melody, the freshness found in company
of a soul with love of dance mirroring my same romance.
I know we've succeeded here when I want dance once more.
Even though the tune has found its end, we are ready to dance once again.
We know the songs in our hearts, the beat lives in our bones,
it is enough to do this again, the challenge of being a lead.

© 2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20160213.
Tags: dance, lead, poem

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