Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dansayoga Surprise

This past weekend I took my slightly hungover self to Dansayoga, a wonderful two hour yoga and improv dance class held Saturday mornings at Big Sur's Grange Hall.

There were only two students, myself and my businesswoman friend, and two teachers, a lovely dark-haired yoga instructor and Dansayoga's founder Carlotta, the wild and creative Swedish expat who guides us weekly in our improv dance adventures. The four of us checked in briefly, complaining a bit about life's ordinary stresses, and (a common theme) the general malaise of mid-life marriage.

Halfway through the yoga class, two beautiful (and I mean beautiful) shirtless young men joined us, forming "planks" and then standing with us as "trees". I said a silent prayer of gratitude. I tried to catch my friend's eye, but she stayed focused on her poses. Later, I raised an eyebrow and she winked back at me from across the hardwood dance floor.

Yes, these two would be EXACTLY the kind of angels we would dream up: handsome friendly faces, perfectly sculpted (and lightly tattooed) torsos, a willingness to play. The kind of young men who make you smile inside and sigh a little, too.

The energy in the room shifted perceptibly when we began to dance together. First we moved on our mats, un-kinking our bodies from the hour of yoga. Next we stood up and began to work through those first self-conscious moments. The music inspired me, and I lost that dance-floor awkwardness pretty fast.

My friend was a professional dancer in her former life so the two of us began to play with more confidence. The young men jumped into the pool as well, moving in their own unique ways. Carlotta encouraged us to "steal each others' moves" pairing up to follow each other, taking turns with different partners. Everyone moves differently, and I love mimicking moves, it gives me a subtle sense of being someone else for just a moment.

As the music warmed up, so did we, and soon the Grange Hall became the hottest dance club on the coast, all of us stone-cold sober on a Saturday morning. We kicked into overdrive: spinning and leaping around the room, grinning at each other as we tried out all our own different moves. The music possessed us, we glowed with perspiration, it was divine. There's a reason why Carlotta calls this "Dance Church".

At one point, encouraged to so some contact improv, I thought of the tradition of couple's dancing: socially acceptable ways to touch and be together on the dance floor, the old-fashioned way. I suddenly saw my shirtless young gentleman in a cowboy shirt, hat, jeans and boots, as we did some modified swing dace moves. Men and women dancing together feels deep in the race, civilized and kind.

The light is soft in the Grange for Dansayoga, with candles and sparkling white string lights along the edges of the floor. And so, Dear Readers, the moment of truth arrived (as it always does) as we sat in a circle and passed around a small book of Rumi poems.

In the stillness after all that dancing, we read aloud the first poem we open to for inspiration. Yes, I had to extend my arm as far away from my body as possible, and squint, in order to read the damn words. My friend didn't even try -- when the book came to her she walked to the window, and she read her poem in the brighter light.

Our two visitors were on their hero's journey through Big Sur on a holiday weekend. They confessed they'd never done anything like this before, had only seen the sign on the highway the night before and decided on the spot to join in next morning. They both sincerely thanked Carlotta for creating the space, and quizzed us on the best options for another night's stay. Oh, how I wanted to offer them the hammock in my backyard!

But, as we learn with age, discretion is the better part of valor. As my friend and I left the Hall, off to our busy Saturday schedules, our dreamboats stayed behind. "Who dialed up Hunks R Us?" she asked, and we doubled over in laughter in the parking lot. So, will we see you at Dansayoga this next Saturday morning, at 10am?
Photo by Carlotta Persson


Belinda Shoemaker said...

Hi Linda, I LOVE your Blog. I have so missed being out of contact during my 3 month absence from Big Sur. I am so tempted to join you on Saturday morning. I'll see if I can hobble along. The energy sounds fun and heart warming. Heaps of love from a chilly islander Brit.

Anonymous said...

If an older man had written this about beautiful young women dancers he would have been accused of being a "dirty old man!" Just sayin'.

Julie said...

Great creative class. Your writing is so lyrical and down to earth.

Linda Sonrisa said...

Dear Anonymous #1

Respectfully appreciating beauty (or youth) is never, ever "dirty" to me. Enjoying someone's physical presence does not make them into an object.

I love to see people shine, with the light that shines in us all. Thanks for contributing!