The Dance of Becoming Acquainted

The dance of becoming acquainted
at first, is just wild rock and roll
or maybe R&B,
you do your thing, I do mine,
perhaps we do them in the same space
with some influence that shapes
what the other is doing, but mostly
I move how I do, and that’s that;
I’m always moving to the slower beat
the one behind the main beat
feeling it in my hips and wanting to sway;
like one partner said, as if this was
an insult, I dance like a girl. yes, proudly so.

A little later in becoming acquainted, it’s more like Bachata
in open position; your hands above, mine inverted, yours resting in mine,
two arm lengths apart, but moving at least
in the same direction to the same rhythm.
Then, in dancing as in everything, I’m the lead
and I bring you into closed position
my right arm around your left side under your arm
hand on your shoulderblade, your elbow resting on mine
other hands giving each other enough pressure
to keep the form, sense the moves.

When I know you more fully, it’s Kizomba
chest and belly to chest and belly
my lead in my intent and pressure,
slow and sensual. There’s the old joke,
why do Baptists not have sex standing up?
Because someone might think they are dancing.
I think about that, and the Irish saying,
dancing is a vertical expression of
a horizontal impulse, when I see anyone I desire
across from me, their body moving in ways
that make my heat rise, energy moving up my spine;
or when I see her dancing with another man
her hips moving in ways I know from my bed
and sometimes, just sometimes
I get it exactly right, exactly locked into my partner’s intent
and we are like one body, the beast with two backs
but on the dance floor and not the bed.

One night at a dance workshop, where there were
separate rooms for each style, in the Kizomba room
the songs flowed one into the other without pause
and I watched a couple who had just met,
an older man and a gorgeous young woman
getting acquainted through their moves, his lead sure
without being oppressive, her follow only a moment behind
and my heart longed for that with each of my loves,
that connection, that intensity, so that my eyes were teary;
and then my dance and bed partner, seeing what I was watching,
leaned over and said, seeing them makes me wet, I want that with you;
and I realized that it’s not the dance of becoming acquainted
that I need to learn, but the knowing each other in every sense of knowing
that I need to let flow into my lead, so that whether or not we are lovers,
my follows surrender, as all good follows eventually must.

I look at you and hold out my hand and you stand and take it;
I lead you onto the dance floor, for now, perhaps,
in open position, or we can still dance rock and roll if we desire,
but inevitably, as we dance ever closer, learning the other’s stories,
opening our vulnerabilities, we will be dancing
belly to belly and chest to chest
and most lovely of all, for me, mind to mind and heart to heart.

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