As I sit and listen to The National’s latest album for the 50th time after the other night’s twilight concert, I contemplate our humanity.
There are precious few things we actually need in life. Most of the things we think of, deal with our material needs: air, food, water, a place to sleep, clothing to protect us from the elements…but what of our soul? What makes us human? Why do we WANT to breath, move and carry on? There are so many things in life that we get wrapped up in. Our egos get the better of us and we look at life as one goal after another. Did I get good enough grades? Will I get that job? How do I get ahead? We worry about what everyone thinks of us, and are 100% certain that we are being judged by those around us. Am I doing what I SHOULD? Should… what a word. Who invented this concept?
I always wanted to believe in something bigger. Something that wasn’t ruled by the word should, by society, by expectations: Music. This is the great equalizer. My personal belief is THIS is the way we find our humanity, our heart. When we listen to music, we feel the same feelings with everyone around us. The musician evokes feelings in us that we are afraid to face. They share parts of themselves that feel like parts of us. The parts that we love, but also the parts that we hate. We face these things together. And then, we know we aren’t alone. The energy flows from one person to the next. I think of a flock of birds… the way they fly in a formation. One changes, and they all change in an instant. There is no thought…no discussion. It just happens, almost magically. We’re part of this. We can fly in formation and change on a dime with those around us. In that moment we love, we cry, we hate, we feel joy, we hope, and we open ourselves up together. How? I don’t know. The rhythm, the melody, the lyrics, the swell, and the silence… all these things apart, and all these things together. It’s in our head, in our muscles, our voice box, our hands and in our bones. For me, as a dancer, it’s hypnotic. I’m empty and open, but I’m also full all at once. Why pontificate about The National on a tango blog? I suppose I state the obvious when I say dance is the physical manifestation of the music. And this is MY most recent connection.
My hope is that we listen to our bodies more. We listen to music together. And we dance… dance to music, as much as we can. Whatever that may be, as long as we love it. This is the gift we give to ourselves.
A little taste.