Friday, March 13, 2009

My SITA*: Chapter 5 Kitchen Ballets

I don’t know when I began dancing so fearlessly in the kitchen. I had never been on good terms with kitchens (ask my siblings), and I managed to marry a man who doesn’t seem to mind cooking. But since I am not currently working (involuntarily) and my husband is, I figured it was a good time to create a new relationship with my kitchen and I started cooking the evening meals.

In order to make this activity relaxing, and maybe even fun, I started listening to dance music from my iPod: Motown, Disco, Reggae, Rajasthani and Italian folk, Zydeco, Afro-Latin, Egyptian…anything that drives me to dance. While working primarily with the bellydance vocabulary, I find that dancing to this wide range of dance music brings out fresh and inventive combinations of steps and gestures. I’ve paid attention to what kind of music inspires me the most and what kinds of movements emerge from that music. (I pretty consistently prefer music with a sense of wit, humor, and a folksy rhythm.)

With no-one but the spatulas and cook pots watching, I completely give in to the music. No restrictions on style or genre; no technical standards to meet. No ego to satisfy or prove. No intellectual content or agenda. No audience to please. I dance while I chop the onions and while I wash the carrots. I do bodywaves over to the sink, discard the spoon to perform mayas with snake arms. I glide past the counter to the window where I perform some head slides for the birds outside. I spin, undulating as I opened the refrigerator, shaking my hips as I reached for the roast. I shimmy and shake, popping and locking all around the kitchen momentarily forgetting about cooking. Sure it takes a little longer to make supper, but Oh, the freedom I feel!

In my kitchen (and oddly, no where else in my house) I become wildly creative, drawing from 50 years of dance to express nothing more—or less—than the sheer delight of dancing. I have done some of my best dancing in my kitchen and hope I can translate that freedom and fearlessness into public performances.

P.S. There is no correlation between the gracefulness of my dancing and the quality of my cooking.

*SITA stands for Solo Improvised dance grounded in Torso Articulations.

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