by sophie

at the sweat spot​ this afternoon, ryan taught us a combination to a beautiful sweeping quiet song, which he had end with everybody wandering to the center of the room, cupped hands slowly dissolving against our chests, and putting our arms around one another in a circular mass, in a circle…  we had learned the whole combination and done it twice or so, and then ryan told us that he was thinking of paris, how we should think of paris when we danced today, and dance for them, how he believed we could send love to them by offering love here…. and i wept for the rest of class, while dancing, while watching others dance. not an uncontrollable clenched weeping… just tears, steady steady mixed with sweat. we did the combination, then split into two groups, and did it again, and again. watching other dancers circle their arms around one another, circling my arms around others…. it is an action of consolation and love, that softness unmistakeable. the action pre-linguistic. it is so difficult for me to imagine the scale of the attacks — it is always hard for me to imagine more than even one person at a time dying, and even more difficult to be able to have any true deep feeling around that scale of death…. but something about dancing, with what must have been 35 other people… i felt what had been numb in me loosen, something i didn’t even know was numb, the superficial head shake of how awful, another act of terror that has become the standard response. i couldn’t stop crying. i haven’t been that startled by crying in a long time, because it meant, felt, like so much more than simply crying for myself or for someone who i knew, or crying at a moving moment on a screen or in a book… it felt active in the world, as my body was active, as the bodies around me were active. ryan made us something new in the world — dancing, watching the dance, i kept having the profound sense that he had tapped into something raw, and opened the passage for all of us to stand there, to move through, almost as if we were a single body…  i can’t even say now what it meant, how it felt to be there, to be that… how, for a moment, to be nothing but a body lifting outward to the world, and then, how it felt to put my arms around strangers, to breathe together, to be held.

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