Some of them cartwheeled across the floor while others bent their wrists like figures in Egyptian art and rocked their shoulders up and down to the music. Whatever the moves, the dozen or so girls and one boy who danced right below the stage at the Kelley Hunt concert in the Lied Center last night were in tune with the music and alive in their twirling bodies.
Sitting in the front row, Ken and I got to watch two levels of the show: Kelley and the band above, and the dancers below, some as young as four and probably none past 14. It was one of the most beautiful double shows I could imagine, particularly since the dancers instinctively set their gait, handstands and tumbles to the music. A slow song, and suddenly we would see three sets of feet rise into the air, several dancers rolling onto the floor and back up, and two sisters who couldn’t seem to stop doing cartwheels, but slowly and with feeling. A fast tune, and everyone would jump, run, swirl, and link elbows into groups of three and four so they could spin themselves into ecstasy and the floor.
Some moves like fairies, some like angels (a wee one who paused at the dance floor, holding her ears because of the volume of the music, even wore wings), and some like circus gymnasts, ready to leap for the crowd. Whenever the crowd would applaud, particularly during the stand ovations, many of the girls would splay their arms, life their chests and smile in appreciation of their adoring public. One girl did a split, spreading her arms wide to accept the acclaim and her next Olympic medal.
All were beautiful. All were shining. All were poetry in motion, mesmerized by the music, catalyzed by Kelley’s boogie-woogie piano playing, Shawn’s fall-over-backwards-in-amazement guitar solos, Sam’s soul-astonishing bass playing, and Victor’s powerful drumming that held all the music together. The dancers rode the love at the core of all this music, embodying all the facets of life they heard and felt so we could see it more vividly. As Kelley said at one point, “Let’s hear it for the dancers!”
Thanks to all for the kind words on the poem I read before Kelley performed. Here’s the poem in print, Seeing in the Dark.