I have never been a religious person and I am truly sorry if my views offend anyone. My only intent is to write a charming blog about the sinning (some fun, some not so fun) of dance.
I started with a google search to do a quick check of the original 7 deadly sins, but as I scrolled down the wikipedia page, my eyes refused to go no further when I read this: In the Book of Proverbs (Mishlai), King Solomon stated that the Lord specifically regards “six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth.” namely:
- A proud look.
- A lying tongue.
- Hands that shed innocent blood.
- A heart that devises wicked plots.
- Feet that are swift to run into mischief.
- A deceitful witness that uttereth lies.
- Him that soweth discord among brethren.
I read these and to myself I thought, I am such a sinner (if I filter this through dance).
1. A proud look. Well, pride right? Pride, is an inflated sense of one’s personal status or accomplishments (aka hubris). In my observations, because I’m like Jane Goodall, the “pride” cycle of a dance student seems fairly consistent. A brand new new student, for it’s first six months will surrender to their environment and lessons; an “I know nothing” period. Once a small skill set has set in, here cometh the pride. They begin thinking that they know more than anyone else, even the teachers. Unknowingly they becoming a huge pain in the ass to those around them. Some out grow this portion of the pride cycle and return to a state of humility, but some never out grow it. Thinking back at that time, I cringe, I was a total moron.
I also choose to look at pride the other way; a satisfied sense of attachment toward a whole group of people, a fulfilled feeling of belonging. For all it’s crazy, I claim it, for it is here, dancing, that I belong.
2. A lying tongue. Gossip. Gossip is idle talk or rumour about the personal affairs of others. A friend of mine once uttered these words,” I am a ballroom dancer and I was born to judge. That’s right, I’m judging you.” Like complaining, I really shouldn’t do it. Yet, I can’t help myself. Things are happy, things are great and yet, someone just took my coke can away. I need to complain about this pronto. Gossip is terrible right? But appears to be my divine right. In good times and bad times, I just do it, as if it has a purpose, because I think it does.
I make the argument that there is a healthy kind of gossip and it can be quite a useful for one’s mental health. As long as it’s with people who get that it’s not malicious and you trust won’t repeat what you are saying, it’s a way of venting and getting all the bad emotions out so it won’t build up inside you and make you crazy and follow you home. Sometimes getting affirmation about your feelings can be wonderful and necessary. This is gossip, I am totally guilty of.
3. Hands that shed innocent blood. In dance I see this more as the act of self-flagellation. The act of severely criticizing oneself. It’s impossible to not go through periods of this. There are times when I’m so tired from practice that I can’t think straight and the person I take it out on is me. “I’m a terrible dancer, why am I here? I’ve wrapped my entire identity up in this world and for what? All the money all the time and for what?” These thoughts are going to creep in no matter who you are. Last night I felt them and they ate away at my sleep. Today I feel better but I can still feel the scars they left behind.
On the flip side I also see the act of punishing oneself as the bloody practice of personal grooming. Personal grooming includes the unholy mani/pedi, the many methods of brutal hair removal and sometimes the over cooked “self tanning” torture; all in the name of looking good on the dance floor. It all sometimes hurts. Sometimes we take it too far, but is it all worth it? Yes, because I look amazing. Wink, false eyelashes!
4. A heart that devises wicked plots. Plotting, to secretly make plans to carry out. When you partner dance you need a partner. The biggest lie that anyone will tell a single girl is that they will meet someone dancing. Nope that’s not going to happen, especially if you are over 30. How does one get a partner then? You’ve got to be either a) really ridiculously lucky and meet someone outside dance that is not only interested in starting dance, but also interested in dancing with you. b) Pay a really expensive teacher. c) Become a teacher. By being around other teachers, you sort of just have to pair up. It’s inevitable. d) Leap on people who have just broken up. You have to be very careful with this, as not only are they fragile, but you have to go about it as though you don’t live in the gossip mill, which you obviously do, otherwise you wouldn’t have heard about it this quickly. How many wicked plots are we up to now?
There is no flip side on this one. It’s a harsh reality. I have at one point considered each of these plot for myself and at no point gone farther than plot a (which ended up being fruitless and disappointing) and b which is fine, for as long as I can afford it.
5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief. Brain. Freaking. Out. Statement. So. Loaded. The music is the piper and am it’s slave. Why we dance, it’s because we just do. To be a dancer is to be a slightly different breed of human. Martha Graham wrote,” In each, it is the performance of a dedicated, precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which come shape of achievement, the sense of one’s being, the satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.” In this church the feet that are swift to run to mischief do so because they have come here to pray, play and worship. I set at its alter my love and laughter, my blood, my sweat and my tears.
6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies. I choose to interpret this as sloth. Sloth, the reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness. How many times have I told my teacher that I practiced and I hadn’t. How times have I heard my teacher say, “When you do it like this you are cheating and when you cheat you are only cheating yourself?” There is no purpose to cheating except being lazy, which is insane if I want to get better. I constantly go to classes and I constantly only try when I feel I need to. I half-ass it through the basics because I think that I’ve got them when that’s not the point. I will always have to work at the basics, it’s the foundation of the house I want to build and my house of sloth and lies will fall like a pack of cards when the table shakes or the wind blows.
7. Him that soweth discord among brethren. Discord, a disagreement between people. Sigh, you know what, screw it. I’m ending my blog on a positive note because it’s my blog and I love the original “Foot Loose” and the movie “Hot Rod”. No fighting. Just, no fighting. The only way to deal with discord among brethren is to go to a warehouse or the woods with a beer and punch dance your rage out. Guilty again. What?!?