Showing posts with label dance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dance. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2023

Night of Carnival

I was slightly fearful of creating this particular unforgettable experience. I spoke with a psychologist about going to Rio de Janeiro for carnival, explaining I knew how hedonistic the trip could be and how my nature was sort of wild with some chaos thrown in to the mix. He smiled, confirming what we both knew. I booked my trip and went to South America for three weeks, including a night of carnival in the sambadrome February 14, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio indeed becomes quite a swirl of exuberant activity during carnival. Millions take to the streets and of course the main event is samba parades in the sambadrome. Five nights of parades.The parade starts at 9:30pm and it goes until 5-6am. Each of the six Samba Groups have 82 minutes to parade. Each group includes up to 3000 participants. 

There are also balls preceding the samba events. Each ball is based on a theme. The one I attended was called Red & Black, the colors of a favorite Brazilian soccer team. I had paid my fee before leaving the US, so had time to shop for clothes that were red and black. In particular, I found an awesome black shirt with red lightning designs.

The ball began at 11 PM and went until dawn. I took a cab from my hotel and arrived as other international people were stepping into the cavernous ballroom; dressed in red and black of course. The music and dancing was incredible, and because people were also getting inebriated the floor swirled with bumping and grinding. I got in the middle of it all, just feet from the stage where along with the band playing salsa and samba, scantily clad girls made shimmering ripples with their bodies . . . I had never seen flesh quiver like that.

The sambadrome holds perhaps 90,000 people and some carnival nights include higher ranked samba groups. I went on one of the best nights: Sunday. I also paid for one of the best spots to sit. The most I will ever pay. Not saying how much . . . but it got me an incredible view where I took pictures all evening and morning until my battery gave out just before dawn.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Two Doves

We all knew it was a message of love coming from heaven above. A once in a lifetime display never to be seen again. It’s been nineteen years since it happened but is still mentioned and makes me think how SPIRIT can use all creation to communicate to humans. Moreover, beings in the next world can give us physical signs that write indelible language upon our souls.

Someone recently read my memoir of my daughter Naomi called, A Heart Traced In Sand, Reflections On A Daughter’s Struggle For Life, and he mentioned the event. The story concludes the book. It demonstrates how life is interwoven through many realms; visible and invisible.

Naomi died of cancer in 1999 at age nineteen after a heroic battle to stay in the world she loved. One year later a group of devoted friends gathered at our home to remember her life. A woman who had been Naomi’s teacher brought materials to make a cord that we all could hold. Small pouches holding sacred objects like rose petals and each person’s note to Naomi were tied to the cord. We all went outside to a lawn and garden then stood together in a circle holding the cord and our prayer bags. One by one we read our remembrance and prayer. The sky had been cloudy and now it rained lightly in a mist. This was unusual because we had been in a drought. A dazzling rainbow appeared beside us. When the last person had read, we all stood together in unity. Suddenly two doves appeared directly above our circle, hovered for a second then dove spiraling downward so closely that their wings almost touched. Down they flew with rapidly beating wings and in perfect precision flew upward again, only to spiral down in place and rise again. The beating wings and precision of their spirals was joyous. It was apparent they came to bring a message of love to us. Then they flew away. One young person burst out, exclaiming, “I hope she keeps sending us messages like that, letting us know everything is okay!”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Dancing Feather

A dancer and ballerina met in a dance company and quickly fell in love. When they danced together it was if a grand drama played out between them, captivating everyone who witnessed their mesmerizing performances.

They lived together in a chalet outside of the town where their company kept its theater. Both loved nature and longed to set their sore feet into the soft earth somewhere far off and secluded. Their housekeeper told them of a place she had visited as a child that was forested and where magical birds sang incredible songs from the tree tops. She had dreamed of it later in life and always when she arrived she was a child again.

So the dancer and ballerina set off to find the woods and venture barefoot into its meadows. They rode their horses all morning and into the afternoon. The air was perfect, the horses strong and they so enjoyed each other that time went by without notice.

Suddenly a light breeze came to ruffle them. A beautiful feather flew by, then came back and flew past again. The horses ears perked up. The feather played in the wind just in front of their surprised eyes. "Let's follow it" cried the ballerina. They galloped after the soaring feather into a deep forest. Of a sudden the feather shot up in the air and disappeared.

The two got off their horses, took off their shoes and sank their feet in the cool grass and earth. "It feels magical here." said the dancer. The fresh scent of earth and forest, the sparkling bird songs, the peaceful quiet that had come over the horses—led them into a happy trance.

They sat by a brook to refresh their feet in the gurgling water. Without speaking, the two sat in reverie. At last, the ballerina looked around and did not know where they were. "How are we going to find our way home?" Her companion was lost in dreaming, and did not answer. A bird flew down and landed on a limb nearby. It cocked it's head to see the ballerina, chirped and flew away. The ballerina followed it as it fluttered into the forest and suddenly faces began appearing from each tree trunk. She grabbed her companions arm. "I see faces in the trees!" The dancer had his eyes closed and was smiling. "Yes, I know. They are the ancestors."

Then one of the tree faces spoke. "We are glad that you two have found us. We know your love of life and dance, and that is why we sent the dancing feather to bring you here. You are now refreshed and though you think you are lost, you are not. You have found magic. By one of your horses you will find a small stone box inlaid with pearl and garnet. Open it and you will find a shell. In the shell is oil. Take this oil on your finger and rub it onto the forehead of your horses. They will take you home." With this, the faces disappeared into the forest.

The day had grown long. The ballerina found the tiny inlaid stone box by one of the horses. She opened it and saw a glistening seashell with oil. Dabbing it on her fingers, she rubbed it on the horses forehead. They shook their manes and danced their hooves on the ground, ready to gallop.

 © Steven Boone 2017 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 30, 2016

White Rabbit

At 86 years old, Polly's energy arrived in short bursts and then would fly away like a bird that longed to break free from an old cage. It would come back but fly away again. Her habit was to take lunch at noon, then promptly go nap. In sleep or in visions as she lay on her bed in the afternoons, vivid wonders came regularly—vanquishing the thinnest of veils between worlds.

She had lost her dear husband years ago, and resided alone. Her son lived a thousand miles away. A few close friends visited regularly, bringing her books to read, and sometimes playing a game of cards. Recently in her dreams at night, and regularly in reverie as she rested in the afternoons, a lively and animated little vision would occur. The same four characters would arrive: a white rabbit, an angelic girl dressed in white, and two ballet dancers—male and female. Usually the rabbit appeared first, then the child angel with the dancers.

When Polly was six years old her parents brought a white rabbit home for their daughter, and her father made a cage where it lived in the backyard. It ate greens and carrots and was content, especially when allowed out to hop around the yard. Polly loved to stroke its long ears and feel its twitching nose on her tender fingers. It was so long ago! Whatever happened to it? She could not remember. 

Her mother was an ardent lover of ballet and often booked seats whenever a ballet group came to town. Polly had many fantastic youthful memories of blissful nights seated next to her mother and father, watching famous dance companies. She had seen some of the greats perform; including Rudolf Nureyev and Nadia Nerina. Now, the pas de deux ballet memories came through the mist like whirling dervishes arriving from afar to entrance her mind and lift her heart. 

A tragedy had occurred in her home when Polly was just thirteen. Her best friend visited after school. The two were playing jacks on the hardwood living room floor. Polly got up to get a glass of water and when she came back her friend was choking. Mother was summoned as the girl was turning blue in the face and not able to breathe. Frantically, mouth to mouth resuscitation was attempted but the child expired. Minutes later, the girls father rushed through the front door and gave out a wail of grief seeing his lifeless daughter in Polly's mother's arms. An autopsy revealed that the poor girl had one of the jacks lodged in her windpipe. For many years afterward at random moments of work or play, Polly sometimes fleetingly glimpsed her friend—as if she was not gone at all, but just transparent.

The foliage on the trees outside the living room window were changing colors. The days became shorter and the air chilled. Polly felt a tinge of remorse anticipating the cold coming. One day, she sat in her rocking chair, gazing for hours at the leaves falling, before suddenly getting up.  She went to the refrigerator and pulled out a pot of soup and heated it for lunch. She ate slowly, put the dishes in the sink and feeling tired, went to her bedroom. Outside, the sky was overcast, with bits of sunlight puncturing the clouds. Kicking off her slippers, she laid down in bed and felt her energy gather like a bird and fly out the window. She followed it. It flew and careened past the trees to a field not far away that was bordered by woods. Suddenly on her feet at the edge of a meadow, something white caught her eye. Rabbit stood at attention, one eye cocked toward her, watching, ears standing straight up. With a little hop, he was in the woods. Suddenly, by Polly's side the girl angel appeared and took her hand, pulling her to follow the rabbit. A path became apparent. Rabbit ran ahead. Polly heard footsteps and holding to the angels hand, she looked back to see two dancers, man and woman, in ballet costume coming up fast behind them. Rabbit hopped to the right. Everyone followed and entered a tunnel of earth and vines. It became dark but smelled wonderful. Polly squeezed tight the child-angels's hand who squeezed back and in a second, the darkness gave way to light as they entered a plush theater. Light dazzled from spectacular chandeliers hanging above. Rabbit disappeared. 

The dancers bounded past. An orchestra was tuning and a ballet company waited onstage for the arrival of the two celebrated dancers. Finely dressed people were arriving. The child-angel leaned softly and whispered in Polly's ear, “Look down there darling!” She gestured toward the front row. A lovely couple seated in the middle turned, and beaming with smiles beckoned to Polly. Her parents had an empty seat next to them and waved excitedly for Polly to come join them. Suddenly, Polly's energy came back to her, as if she was not 86 years old but 16. Joyfully she rushed down the aisle to join them. 

Nora, 80, Polly's neighbor, knocked but got no answer. The morning paper was at the doorstep and it was almost noon. She took the extra key Polly had given her and unlocked the door. “Polly, are you all right?” The home was silent. Nora went to the bedroom and opened the door. Polly's hands were folded on her chest and she lay with closed eyes, not breathing. Nora walked to her side and looked close. Polly seemed to be smiling but she was certainly dead. Nora peered tenderly at her friend. "OH! You rascal!” was all she could say.

© 2016 Steven Boone ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tango Embrace

THE DREAM speaks . . . sings, flows, is air, is water, flux. I am in it and witness, play along as an actor on it’s stage. I am audience to my performance as well—yet I only long for the place of unfolding—not the witnessing, but the unfolding. What is it then to unfold and witness at the same time?
Can moments be slowed? Slowed into singularity so that only one time exists? Cessation of separation, to realize that sleep, waking, work, rest, play, happiness, sadness, success, failure, male-female, God, human, animal, plant,—all are unified in the borderless regions of oneness. -Written from Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 2010

"Tango Passion"
What is Buenos Aires without tango? The night I visited Cafe Tortoni, I went for tango. The Cafe is a classic Parisian style affair, with high ceilings, chandeliers, glistening tile floors, lacquered wooden tables and chairs, and artwork covering the walls. I went right by all this and straight downstairs, into a small dark cavern with tables and a stage. My eyes adjusted to the dark and I could see shadowy silhouettes of people seated, and soon, musicians came to take their positions besides the stage, and begin making the familiar, haunting, chords of tango music. The stage had a backdrop of a cafe, and the dancers arrived, in pairs. The area was small enough to feel intimate, and as if the spectacle was unfolding among friends gathered privately for a night of revelry.

I had my camera, and amid the strident song notes striking the chords of longing and pathos in everyone's hearts, and the stage smoke filtering the colored lights as the dancers strode, strutted, and twirled together, I took pictures.

"Tango Embrace"
Since then, I have sold my images from that evening, as prints and large scale mixed-media pieces. One has appeared on the cover of a french language novel.

The Steven Boone Gallery sold a large mixed-media piece today, called Tango Flair, and this is what inspired my blog today.

"Tango Flair"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Linked Forever

I am with Sarah when she was about 1 year
Both of my children, Naomi and Sarah, were born at home, but to different mothers. My eyes were the first to gaze upon them as they were brought into existence from their mother’s womb. I assisted during the births to the extent I could, offering encouragement and support.  With my first child Naomi, I cut the umbilical cord.
Naomi and Sarah

Today is the birthday of my second daughter, Sarah. Two midwives and myself attended her birth. Jean’s labor began the previous evening and Sarah was born around six on a cold morning, November 11, 1986.

Both daughters attended Waldorf School from elementary through 9th grade. For that, I think that they gained a well-rounded education that did not ignore their soul, but rather encouraged harmony between spirit and the physical world. Both girls went to public high school. Naomi died of cancer the year after she graduated, and Sarah has gone on to finish University with a major in dance, and now lives in Chicago.
Sarah Boone

I feel entirely blessed to be linked forever with these two souls. One is ahead of me, in the next world, and Sarah is beside me in this one. Naomi, because of the tremendous difficulty she faced gallantly before she died, I regard as my teacher. Sarah is my delight and a reminder of beauty and grace.
Sarah, 2011, age 25