The groove

Tuesdays are definitely getting even more fun, no kidding. This is Dan Kelly, self styled trouble maker, schemer, dreamer, commando of conscience, mystic misspeller, earth agent, accidental impressario and DANCE MAVEN. I had a pretty swell time with my newest best friends last Tuesday and I feel like sharing. So, if you have an overabundance of warm fuzzies in your life today, go ahead and find something more dark and joyless to attend to.

We practice a style of partner dancing developed by the inimitable Mykl Werth. Now, I really don’t want to saturate your limited attention span with endless commercials for this weekly event – having done my post puberty in a house with a born again catholic, I know fanaticism can get pretty banal. At the risk of driving you to a cat video, let me expound briefly why connected dance is so fine.

1) You sort of fall in love. C’mon… what? Honest – once you get the basics and practice for a month or two, you (might) begin to feel a level of connection to your dance partners that is very much like falling in love. I know this sounds crazy! I might be censored or worse for revealing it on a mere blog post – it’s a secret that only the inner circle of adepts ever talk about. I’m letting THIS cat out of the bag because even we experienced dancers don’t know exactly what’s going on here. It’s mysterious and profound. Maybe there’s something about relaxing into shared gravity that fosters deep trust. Perhaps there’s a whole level of human experience our sedentary and screen obsessed culture can’t handle. We need more folks of every stripe to explore this with us, maybe even to share this discovery with a troubled world. I can’t help feeling that if more people had the dance in their lives, many tricky problems and insurmountable conflicts would just go away. Do I sound like my mom at the height of her most obnoxious charismatic phase? Maybe. Aren’t you the least little bit curious?

As an addendum to this section, I am going to reveal a little more than I usually do to the gen public. Eastern practice has become quite fashionable in the west – and therefor pretty diluted. Early in life I got hooked into origin teachings and so have a taste of what these practices are really about – verifiable results in the now. As a result, I’m sort of enhanced, enjoying a minor array of super powers, (yep, he’s nuts). The point of telling you this is that I am not unfamiliar with the edges of human potential and phenomenal physical presence. So when I say the dance is worth checking out, I’m assuming you too have a taste for the mystery and yeah, real magic. What’s crazy about the dance is that you can learn the basics in a few nights and then be immediately on the path of enlivenment. Healing on all levels, folks. Confidence. Strength. Joy.

2) Ok, so you made it past the evangelism, congratulations. Now let’s feed decadence and the ego! On a purely physical level, the dance feels (and often looks) really spectacular. Again, once you get the jist, you start being able to do things that are surprising – and look fabulous in the execution. Well if not fabulous, at least flamboyant… and if not flamboyant then really funny to anyone watching. More to the point, how you look eventually just pales in comparison to the actual feeling of doing it, which is invariably wonderful. Sometimes I feel flipping virtuosic, and other times hilarious, but I’m almost never ever embarrassed. It’s not JUST because I’m an attention junky and extrovert, it’s cause the dance is immersive and promoting of rapturous focus on what’s happening, the FLOW you hear so much about. So I get to indulge my ego and be spiritually evolved at the same time. You def won’t find that in your average mega church or spinning class.

3) Speaking of classes, if you go to the gym or local guru of whatever, you’re gonna pay, pay, pay. Yes walk-ins for Dance Benzie are $7 and $5 for students – but that’s not the recommended access. Once you get the dance, you’re likely to be there every night. Membership costs about $3 a night right through March 2015. Can you think of ANY class with competent teachers that costs only $3? Dance Benzie is not about the money, it’s about sharing the fun with as many people as we can haul in.

The point of our memberships is twofold. First, we’ve got to cover the cost of renting the Mills Theater in the long term. Memberships are better than walk-ins for this because we get bigger chunks of cash early on. Second, folks are committed to showing up because they’ve already spent the money. So as more members join, our bills become less of an issue. Dancing with different people can be just as much fun as dancing with someone you’ve danced with a hundred times. Having lots of dancers makes the shared energy sumptuous.

Since we launched membership in October we’ve got just under 10 members, so we’re on track for 30 before the end of 2014. The Theater can legally accommodate 200, realistically tho for Dance Benzie that’s probably more like 120 – 60 dancing couples would probably max out the space. In the summer we can take over the parking lots.

We’ve discussed cracking spiritual mysteries, reveling in base narcissism, saving money and living the festival vibe on a weekly basis… short of standing outside the Mills wearing nothing but a sandwich board, what else can I do to get you dance with me? People, your gonna make me get creative!

Kim told me last Tuesday that Dance Benzie posts alone are worth the price of membership. If you feel the same, please send $70, ($35 for students) to Dance Benzie, c/o Mills Community House, P.O. Box 421 Benzonia, MI 49616. Then think of dancing every Tuesday as a bonus!