Friday, August 9, 2013

Duck, Duck, Mazurka

Duck's dance floor
Mazurka Clandestina, held in Park Sint Baafsabdij, was simply entrancing. The 7th century abbey is mostly a ruins that has been repeatedly torn down and patched up over centuries. Various parts are somewhat intact, creating a maize of cloisters and stone windows that surround a brilliantly green grassy garden. It is only rarely open to visitors. I felt privileged to have been included in the clandestina part of this mazurka occasion.

I brought a bottle of wine and shared with Tine, Anja and Charlotte as the twilight deepened and dancers trickled into the sheltered space.  It was tragically romantic and I missed Anita terribly.

Guus Herremans and Jeroen Laureyssens played in the garden under the stars to about 50 dancers. This was Cavan's first public appearance -- well, other than playing for Anita's goodbye party -- and we were all cheering them on as did the dancers when they sampled Cavan's selection.

Charlotte sets up Cavan
Midway through, I was called up front with the announcement, "A mazurka for Doc," charmingly pronounced duck, as they do. Charlotte proceeded to give me another lesson while Cavan played Music Mazurka, the mazurka Guus has me working on.

So, I danced in public. Not very well I'll admit, but still, I did leave the sidelines. Charlotte, bless her heart, made it easy by subtly leading, all the while acting as if I were in that role. What a trooper. At the end, everyone applauded. I was quite chuffed. Actually, they all applaud at the end of every dance, so perhaps all eyes weren't on me.

Everyone was very kind and I ended up dancing with Anja a bit, who turns out to be a very accomplished dancer. When she had in the past demonstrated the dances at our sessions she always disclaimed any expertise. This is entirely too modest. I watched in awe as she whirled around the grass, doing an impressive scottish.

Then Anja paired me with a guy and we switched off being the lady, which initially resulted in a tangle of arms as we negotiated who would go first. Guys dancing together is not unusual at boombals and the only comments were about my moves, or lack thereof. Based on my very short dance career, I can only observe that men feel more solid than women. It was a little like hugging a brick wall. After awhile his best advice was that I should try to listen to the music. Ah, another thing I have to do in addition to counting, one, two, three. I simply must start multitasking.

This dancing still feels like trying to thread a needle in the dark, while wearing mittens. But I'm feeling more cheerful about next week's Boombal dance workshop.

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