“Are you a dancer?” was the pickup line I got most often on the streets of New York when I was in my early twenties working as a legal secretary at Look Magazine on Madison Avenue.
“No,” I’d say shyly, scurrying away, all the while thinking, How I wish I were! I would have much preferred professional dancing to the secretarial job I had that made me feel like a small animal chained to a heavy desk in an airless office tower eight hours a day.
In the evenings, though, when my roommate Donna and I returned from the City by bus to the apartment we shared in Hackensack, New Jersey, we played the theme from the film “Zorba the Greek” (which had come out only a few years before), and we danced Zorba’s dance all around our living room – with outstretched arms and clicking fingers – laughing the whole time. Just like Zorba.
Neither Donna nor I had yet been to Greece, but the music and the dance transported us instantly, magically, from New Jersey to Zorba’s Greek island of Crete.
These memories came rushing back to me this week when I returned to Danzas del Mundo, the weekly international folk dancing class here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the first time this year; and our teacher, Kathleen Mazurek, taught us a variation on the now-famous Zorba’s dance.
After having taken a bad fall on January 1st and injuring my back (see my “After the Fall” post of last January 6th for the full story), I felt I couldn’t dance without doing more damage, so I stayed away. Until now.
There have been some changes in the intervening five months. Kathleen now holds her classes at a new location, in the upstairs studio at Condición Sana, on Homobono (#17), one block north of the big mercado; and on a new day and time: Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. The new dance space is larger, airier, brighter, and cooler (in this hot weather) than the previous one, and the mirrors cover two full walls.
The cost is the same, however: 50 pesos per class, the proceeds from which go to a good cause – the ABBA House in Celaya, which assists migrants passing through Mexico.
Kathleen, a retired social worker from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who has lived in San Miguel for three years, has been studying international folk dancing and attending dance camps worldwide on a regular basis for more than thirty years. Her passion for the whole spectrum of international folk dances, she admits, has become “an obsession.” It’s clear, with every step she takes, that she loves what she does.
When I asked her why, she told me, “It’s a wonderful way of being exposed to different parts of the world and other cultures. It builds community. And it’s good exercise!”
In this week’s class, in addition to Zorba’s dance, we learned dances from Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, and northern Mali. Like magic, as the music filled my body, I danced around the world.
My back is better, thank God. I can dance now. So if anyone should happen to stop me on the street here and ask, “Are you a dancer?”, I know what I’ll say.
This morning I made this haiku out of a couple of verses from Ecclesiastes chapter 3 in the Old Testament:
There is a season —
a purpose — to everything….
Now it’s time to dance.
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Enjoy three minutes of Anthony Quinn as Zorba exuberantly dancing the famous “Zorba’s dance” in the award-winning 1964 film “Zorba the Greek”:
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To learn more about Danzas del Mundo in SMA, or to be added to the e-mail list for upcoming announcements, contact Kathleen at: firstname.lastname@example.org .