Our dance classes assemble in our largest practice studio.
It's time to present the dances we've been learning for the past eight weeks.
Our beginning tap class presents. We have fun. Our dance is short and simple.
The Scottish dancers go next, accompanied by a real bagpiper.
Finally, the adult ballet class dances. This is clearly *not* the beginning-level class!
Many of them are quite good. As they dance, I think about these dancers, six women and one man. When they were younger, they must have danced all the time to retain such good technique as adults. Perhaps they were the featured soloists at their recitals. Perhaps they went even farther.
Even more impressive is the choreography. The choreographer chose a piece from a Japanese anime show. The music sounds like techno-classical. (No, not Hooked on Classics! Cool, not dorky. :-)
The dancers move like dolls, their bodies stiff. At one point, they all move forward together like automatons. Their heads twist stiffly to the right. They move forward again. Their heads twist to the left.
They break out into all kinds of cool leaps and pirouettes, not in unison, but in staggered rhythm across the stage.
On my way home, I reflect on the pleasure of witnessing a small command performance by these impressive talents in dancing and choreography. So often nowadays, we believe that talent isn't talent unless it is the best in the whole country. It's not enough to be a very good singer. You have to be perfect. You have to be better than everyone else. It's not enough to love dancing and move beautifully. You have to be in the New York City Ballet. At least, that's how some people think of it. If you haven't made it to the pro level by the time you're twenty-one, then why keep dancing?
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
That's what Thomas Gray writes in "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." The 'flower' he describes is any talented rustic villager who never makes a name for himself in the world. His ability "wastes its sweetness on the desert air."
I have to disagree with Thomas Gray.
The whole world may not see your talent, but someone will.
Like that choreography I saw tonight, quality works of art lift people's spirits. They make us glad to be alive. The performing and visual arts are sophisticated forms of play. We work for years to become accomplished in our chosen art forms because the beauty of our work glorifies our Creator and brings pleasure to other people.
Out here in the desert air, I saw that flower blooming. Its sweetness was not wasted on me or on any of the others who saw it.
Have you seen a private performance or some other kind of art that was not created by a famous artist, but still lifted your spirits or moved you?