Thursday, February 11, 2010

Strength, Vulnerability, and Beauty

A couple of snowstorms ago I had the chance to go see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform at the Kennedy Center, which I posted a video for a few posts ago.  But as wonderful as a video is, it doesn't describe the feelings I had while experiencing the performance.  True, it lets you formulate your own thoughts and feelings, but until you see them perform in person, I don't know if you truly experience the performance.

The dancing was unlike anything I had ever seen before.  It showcased the human body in all of its intended glory - muscular and strong with control over every single movement.  And each movement was the epitome of both grace and beauty.  From traditional ballet moves to yoga-like poses, all incorporated into one piece, the body moving with a fluidity that was awe-inspiring and truly beyond words.

And then there came a moment within the performance in which it reached out, broke the fourth wall, and offered me and the audience, a piece of the dancer himself - a piece of his heart, open and vulnerable, out there on a stage, for everyone to experience and see and touch.  It was during a dance to spoken word, and the words combined with the movements broke through to me, directly into my heart.

It could have been interpreted as one of the corniest moments of the show, but it was one of the most vulnerable.  Because it takes strength to be that vulnerable.  To open and share your heart, your passion, a piece of your identity in such a broad and beautiful way - that takes incredible strength.

There was also the beauty in seeing the human body in all of its intended glory.  Saint Iraneus said that "The glory of God is man fully alive" and each Alvin Ailey dancer showcased this truth.  Their dancing was a true echo of God, showcasing His glory.  They were fully alive in beauty, in strength, in vulnerability and they gave me a gift in being able to experience that joy.

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