Inches Off The Floor

Written by  //  September 14, 2010  //  Music, The Conservatory  //  1 Comment

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Here is a photograph of an old dancehall. Note the floor, the scuffs from hard soled shoes swinging out in abrupt arcs, tailing off as contact was lost and friction ceased, a burnished canvas marked by the calligraphy of dancers, their secret language punctuated by heel spikes and toe boxes. Here are the collected wrappers and empty drinks at the periphery, the tables with the loose tops, the shaky splay of their bases bent by drunken revelers leaning too hard. Here are the dusty rafters and the swinging lights, those dimming orbs that swayed when the room packed and the building strained slightly against the Brownian motion of the dancers. Here are the posters tacked to the walls, wavy and drooping from the cyclic humidity of nocturnal perspiration and daylight dormancy.

Here is a photograph of an old dancehall. Note the dancers captured in their grace, taut bundles of musculature and undulation radiating out from hips that pull together like magnets. Here is the sweep of a hemline, a fallen sock bunched around an ankle. Here is a necklace swinging just beneath a collar, a shirt pulling away from the neck to reveal the strap of an undershirt. Here is a forearm flexed and extended, two hands intertwined and linking two bodies, fighting against the centrifuge of a spin. Here is the loose shrug of a shoulder, the jangled bounce of a curled pigtail brushing against a shoulder, a rivulet of sweat and pomade running from a hairline. Here are the faces set in concentration and in joy, the expressions of abandon and lust. Here are the raised eyebrows, the toothy grins and open-mouthed surprise, the puttied makeup and the clumping mascara.

Here is a photograph of an old dancehall. Note the dancers captured here in amber, suspended in sepia tones and reaching to us through time, across the ether of eternity. Here are their shoelaces held aloft as if there were no gravity, and here are the soles of their feet, inches off of the floor. Here is the moment just before the downbeat is hit, the force of the crowd made inert and only implying the ceaselessness of their motion. Here are the dancers kept in their flesh, their whoops and their hollers seen rather than heard, the echo of their lives reverberating in the rafters as fleeting as their pulses, now silent save for the rush the photograph instills.

Is that all there is?

Is that all there is?

If that’s all there is, my friend, then let’s keep dancing. We all know the tempo of this tune. We all know when to jump, right before the snare drum claps out as loud as the heartbeat in our ears, as loud as the air sucked in through our teeth as we hold on to one another and tuck into a spin. Now. Now. Now.

1. Major Lazer – Hold The Line
2. Holy Fuck – Super Inuit
3. Rainbow Arabia – Omar K
4. Gang of Four – At Home He’s A Tourist
5. Hooray For Earth – Form
6. Blanquito Man – Cumbia Sobre El Rio
7. Serge Gainsbourg – Psychastenie
8. De La Soul – You Got It
9. Funkadelic – As Good As I Can Feel
10. ESG – Insane (Bass Mix)
11. Mos Def – Quiet Dog
12. The Kills – Fuck The People
13. Sleater-Kinney – Get Up

About the Author

Rbt. B. Rutherford is the Donnybrook Manor's Resident Bard/Plant Psychologist. BA in Fecundity, MA in Profundity, Cambridge University, Magna Cum Laude.

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One Comment on "Inches Off The Floor"

  1. J.C. Engelbert Roberdink October 25, 2010 at 9:02 am · Reply

    Here is a photograph of an old dancehall: http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2010/07/26/captured-america-in-color-from-1939-1943/2363/

    (scroll down to #13…)

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