Thursday, June 23, 2005

Dancers at Spice

Tuesday night was just one of those nights where I end up feeling like I'm levitating ever so slightly just from a surfeit of beauty -

There were friends on the water; kayaks, outriggers - there was the big orange moon - there were the fireworks. There was just letting my boat go gently spinning north along the bubbling foam-edged eddyline. There was that moon. There were people taking a trapeze lesson. There was the gentle glow of kayak lights floating up into view through the darkness at Pier 57. Oh yes, and the moon.

And to top it all off - there was Spice.

Their website doesn't do Spice nights on the barge justice. There are dance floors at both ends of the barge; live Latin music playing - usually gentle & romantic at one end, fast & hot at the other - and people talking, eating, drinking, enjoying the river and Oh Yes, Dancing! The scene, as you come up the dark river, is like magic - the barge all lit with giant paper lanterns - on Tuesday, they were like little moons there beneath the big one rising over the city - the music and the noise of happy people drifting out to you over the water -


There is a small dance floor set up near the foot of the stairs that lead up to the MKC office & kayak changing room. As I passed, my attention was caught by one couple that was dancing there.

It was interesting, how watchable they were.

People dress to the nines for this thing. A Jay Gatsby rainbow of men's shirts - shining shoes - shining dresses and spiky heels. Slim young bodies are flaunted, posing and whirling and arching, every move an ode to the joy of...being a hottie, knowing it, and making sure everyone else knows it too.

Somehow, though - these people are not the ones that draw my eyes and hold them magnetized.

The hottest couple on the small dance floor wasn't even trying to be hot. They were maybe a bit older (not old, though, maybe not even as old as me but they looked like they'd been out of college for at least a few years); they were not model slim. She was wearing a simple, loose-fitting white top and black slacks. He...ok, frankly, he could've done better - he was wearing a Chicago Bulls basketball jersey and white shorts, looked like he'd just finished playing basketball (which is possible as this all happens at the north end of BasketBall City).

But watching them - it didn't matter.

Something about the way they moved together seemed to say that they were dancing only with and only for each other, and enjoying it with no reservations. They danced like maybe they've been dancing with each other for a good while now, and maybe they'll keep dancing with each other for a long time, and maybe when they're dancing, they can just let go of everything else. Their rhythm was perfect, they went with the music wherever it took them. There was a quiet confidence to them that none of the flashier dancers could match - watching them, I just felt this sense of quiet comfort and happiness coming from them. There was no sense of watching a conscious performance - they weren't trying to show off, they weren't trying to present a certain image, they weren't trying to impress anyone - they were just dancing, as calmly and naturally as breathing.

There's something so wonderful about watching someone do something like that when they do it so well that the sense of "trying" goes away. It's like you know that what they're doing is difficult - but you don't have to worry about them because you know that there's a solidity there - and your enjoyment is not something for which you somehow owe them, but a genuine gift.

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