The dance culture of New York City. It flows in and out of my ears, lungs, and heart beats as I stomp the concrete streets and slide across baby powdered dance floors until 4am throughout the month of July. I have been doing this for four years now. It’s changed my life now.
When I walk the streets, feeling safe in the sounds coming from my leopard printed headphones, I always listen to strong beats. It keeps my pulse moving when the coffee won’t hold over. I feel invincible. I understand the space in-between the street and buildings is mine and that things are spontaneous, and that if I work diligently, all will manifest eventually. Without my music, I don’t feel that way. With my music, I conjure rain clouds, envision next steps. I drop into my hips, and swing my step to the beat, deflecting energy when I need to avoid a confrontation with one of those lookers standing on his stoop checking out the butts as they bop by. Not mine, I’ll turn around and raise my eyebrows as if I am asking “it’s 2018, right?” I am a woman.
I am a woman who appreciates nature, yet somehow my heart aches for this concrete jungle. Perhaps it’s because I love people. I love the archetypes. It’s the beat of my steps, the beat of my heart; the beat of their steps, the beat of their hearts. Their suffering, our bliss. I love them, these other beings navigating the concrete and pieces of metal. I especially enjoy crossing paths with the rats and mice.
When I am blessed enough to cross paths with another being who slides along the baby-powdered floors throughout the month of July, we cast gazes of admiration and respect. We know how difficult it is to keep up our craft. Street dance is built from a space of resilience and community. It doesn’t need to emphasize the individual until the community decides it should be so. There are rules and politics and boundaries and techniques and codes. You must embody those guidelines by shutting up and observing. Or you could learn it the hard way and open your mouth too soon. Don’t get jaded, keep yourself open. Curious. It’s all such a blessing.
This year, I felt the presence of Chicago in New York City. I was honored to share time and lessons learned with a pioneer of Chicago Footwork, a dance culture that I most recently fell in love with. Can I get it together? Can I get my level of bravery up to par for this dance formed around the battle floor? I say to myself that I finally found my place, it took a while. It took a while, but I can see it all in my mental vision. Take me to my love: the beat of that music in my headphones. It is so quick and powerful and full of groove. I will catch up, understand the groove, battle strategies, and intensity.
I am entrenched. All in. I knew it would be like this all along. People often make fun of me for being all in. They think I change my mind quickly, when really I just already caught up and they can’t see it yet. I will never catch up with Footwork. There’s always someone running. It’s an energy of eternity. Its the speed of light, and the groove of sex combined into one. Its a physical dance of mortality and immortality. It brings a type of high, and sometimes a severe low. Charles said its either 0 or 100.
What do I need to prepare? I need bravery... and pronto.