DANCING, NO MATTER WHAT…
by Ampersand Charmpop
It can’t be said that the 14th Tennessee Dance for All People went off without a hitch, but as far as hitches go, the hitch we got was about as grand and as thrilling as a hitch can get: on the Tuesday night before the dance, a wild spring storm, accompanied by raucous thunder and lightning, blew down a tree that tore through a corner of the roof of our dance lodge. Talk about piercing the Veils!
Wednesday morning revealed the full extent of the damages: a couple of broken windows, a great deal of debris, and a gaping hole in the roof. It wasn’t immediately clear that we would be able to dance in the lodge at all, due to insurance liability issues. As it turned out a serious amount of plastic tarp would do for the weekend, the rooftop equivalent of a lick and a promise. The question lingering in the air: if this wasn’t going to be the dance we expected, what kind of dance would it be?
Thanks to Paulino Solorzano and the Camp YI staff, by late-afternoon the tree had been extracted from the building, the hole covered, and dancing in the Lodge on Thursday was certain. We’d need a few extra layers of clothing at night – the tarp would keep us dry but not warm. Only one thing was undeniable: we were there to dance, and the dance was going to happen no matter what.
And yet, the message of these events was that everything was now different! A disruption like that – even one that ends gently and without deep consequence – refocuses everything, recalibrates the entire mechanism and the way we see it. That tree coming down was like a hand smacking a table to emphasize a point: it perked us all up, it got our attention. It bounced everything and everyone into the air with its impact, setting us all down slightly to the side of where we had been, looking at ourselves and the Dance from a new perspective. We sang these songs of old with a new understanding that nothing can be taken for granted, that our expectations can crash to the ground, but that nevertheless we can, and will, go on dancing for our lives.
Also it was cold. Did I mention it was cold? It was cold. You never really know what you’re going to get in the Mid-South in the springtime, conditions from sweltering to stormy to sublime. But this year, the forecast called for Shivering. It meant for cuddly, cozy days in the Mess Hall, and extra blankets in the cabins at night. On Saturday our fire crew stoked up an inferno in the Dance Lodge fireplace that energetically entwined with Grandfather Fire at the Tree. It was a play of light and shadow on the walls and ceiling that magnified the energy as we danced deeper into our intentions. It was a play of light and shadow on the walls and ceiling that magnified the energy as we danced deeper into our intentions.
The Kitchen at the Tennessee Dance is and always has been the stuff of legend, but this year’s Crew, led by Viva and Dickie Antelope, truly outdid themselves. We dined like royalty! The joy the Kitchen Crew found in each other’s company was palpable in every bite. Thank you, TN Kitchen!
And thank you to the full Tennessee local Hosting Circle. Visionkeepers Razzle Dazzle and Irma Spicerack are truly blessed to be joined and held by their dedicated community who met throughout the year, working together to vision the dance into existence. The Tennessee Circle held the dance container sweetly, strongly, and with deep love. It’s this community energy, so full of grace and integrity and familial devotion, that always makes the Tennessee Dance feel so gentle, so fruitful, so deep and so safe – come what may.
Cee Edwards Is Gifted The Spirit Feast Blanket
Cee Edwards is bestowed the Spirit Feast blanket by the women of the Tennessee Dance 2018 in honor and respect of Cee’s good work and loving kindness!
The Next Dance
The vision of the Utah Naraya this year is for us to return to this place of magic. Through engaging with community, nature, spirit, our ancestors, and tradition, we will slice through the rings of our identity and drop into a space of pure creation.
Only one thing was undeniable: we were there to dance, and the dance was going to happen, no matter what…
THANK YOU everyone for all your generous NCPC contributions that make it possible for us to help support each and every one of our dances across the country! Your contributions also make it possible for elders to get to ceremonies, and to fund other important events.
Naraya Cultural Preservation Council