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Dance Routines

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.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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