I’m watching the ice skating couples dance contests
from Milano, Montreal, Gangneung,
the men, flexible as rubber bands
their female partners hissing over the ice
turning, pirouetting – then lifting wings and flying –
white and golden plumed birds held aloft
on muscled arms, as the camera zooms in on
their plumes and smiles.
Here in St. Stephen’s Green on a bandstand
a dozen middle aged couples prance and clutch
each other to the rhythm of some potted
fox trot, the ladies smiling fixedly into their
husbands’ earnestly guiding starched lapels
and diligent facial expressions.
Memory takes me back to our own wedding waltz
we went to Arthur Murray’s school of ballroom dancing
to learn how to do it properly – each of us with
a different instructor/partner. I was led through
the one-two-three, one-two-three by a Russian lady
with rock-firm bodice, the top of my head barely
reaching her neckline, my nose bumping
constantly into her nipples.
Still we managed to take to our wedding floor
and praying that we wouldn’t trip up or forget
the turns and twirls, managed a fairly good round
until all the guests joined in and we laughed with
joy and relief.
Sadly we didn’t take it any further as over the years
dancing degenerated into that free-for-all callisthenic
activity where everyone flings themselves around
hardly touching one another at all.
A visitor from Gavotte and Gig times would think
that we all had caught St. Vitus Dance!
Sydenham's chorea (SC) or chorea minor (historically and traditionally referred to as St Vitus' dance) is a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements primarily affecting the face, hands and feet.