By Lou Pechi
I have a deep respect for the numerous teachers who research the ethnology, technique, rhythms, and choreography of dances. I call them our "Cohanim," or keepers of the folkdance faith. They look at the dances another way and I am ever grateful for all the work and preparation they do to present the dances to us.
People dance for various reasons: some to get their exercise, some to socialize, some to learn about other cultures, and others just to get out of their houses. When they dance I am not so sure they pay much attention to the theory or ethnology behind the dances.
I, on the other hand enjoy the freedom and the joy folk dancing offers.
I dance the dance of Zorba the Greek, who after everything went wrong breaks into a dance.
I dance the dance of Tevye, the poor milkman of the "Fiddler on the Roof" who sings and dances as he has to leave his beloved village Anatevka.
How do I explain this to our "Cohanim"?
The most appropriate explanation comes from a scene of a great old movie "I Even Met Happy Gypsies" (the original title was Skupljaći Perja, or gatherers of goose feathers) where the main character, a Roma dealer in goose down feathers, is brought in front of the local judge to explain to him why he was littering the highway with feathers, his source of income.
He explains to the judge, "Sir, how could you understand? First one feather and then the others, floating in the air like the first snowflakes of the winter. It was so beautiful!"
Dancing for me is light, as those floating feathers. I dance from my heart.
As appearing in "Dancing with Two Left Feet (38)," Folk Dance Scene.
Used with permission of the author.