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From Radiance Winter 2000

 

Body Dance

You!
Look at me!
See the marks on this body stretched
to hold a spirit more vast and beautiful than theseas?
These hands, they can play your bones like music,
these lips can sing flesh back to those bones.
These eyes, they laugh and call you home,
these ears, they hear the whispers of your heart.
And these feet, they are dancing
they are dancing
they are dancing
yes, they are dancing.

ALYSSA MANN is a licensed massage therapist and instructor at the Alpha Health Institute in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is also a writer, poet, and traditional Native American–style bead maker. The person she admires most is her mother and best friend, Delores Mann.

 

I Will Dance

I will dance.

The music, the rhythm,
the power of my body
sculpting ever-changing shapes in space,

I will dance.

Balanchine’s ideal

tall
long neck
small breasts
perfect turnout

can never be me.

But Balanchine is dead
and I’m alive and
while I’m alive,
I will dance.

I will bend, stretch, and twist
my voluptuous form into any shape I can.

I will train my muscles
to support me
through fear and denial.

I will sweat and strain
and leap and cry.

I will throw back my head
and glow with love
for this living art.

I will dance.

 

DEBORAH SMITH RENWICK is a homemaker, sometime writer, and sometime student living in Illinois. She is always ready to move when the music starts.

 

Dancing Again
(for the First Time)

I danced today for the first time in years,
eyes closed,
swimming in space,
listening to my body’s long muted voice,
singing me into motion.

And I remembered dance classes
when I was the chubby girl in the back of the room,
holding my stomach in and
studying the mirrored walls
trying to fall into step
with the girl in front of me
or beside me
or anywhere at all.

Dance was a joyless litany
of counts and measures,
more like algebra than music,
and I found myself to be neither
ballerina nor mathematician,
until today when I closed my eyes
and found myself imbued with music,
occupying as much space as my body wanted to fill,
reveling in the realization
that within this flesh
resides spirit and grace.

And when I opened my eyes
my body still faltered somewhat
under the tyranny of my own gaze,
until the music instilled in me
a new vision of myself,
and at long last,
I danced.

GLORIA CAHILL is director of Community Service at New York University and a freelance writer whose work has been featured in Radiance.

 

The Voluptuaries Dance

Large round bodies move boldly
across the wooden floor.
Leap, jump, extend, contract
majestic, easy motion.
Your tall, considerable elegance
melds to my bountiful curves.
We twine together,
our capacity for movement enlarged
by the grandness of our bodies.

The voluptuaries dance with contained
grace.
We are not invisible,
our folds of flesh move with us,
shaping, imposing,
stretching to fluid lines.
Our bodies wind together, roll apart.

Differences so apparent
as we stand side by side
join with gentle strength
into one graceful shape.
Music calls, we melt and blend.
We are big, tall, strong,
enormously self-satisfied women.
Dancing women.

 

ELLEN F. FRANKLIN is a management consultant living in Seattle.

 

Fat Dancing

Full figure sways to the breeze of the rhythm.

Fat Dancing.

Belly laughing to the beat.

Fat Dancing.

Hips gently rocking side to side,

Lifting and twirling skirted design.

Fat Dancing.

Feet on air tapping in step.

Fat Dancing.

Arms swirling and gliding, tracing each fluid movement while

Rounded fingers snap to time.

Fat Dancing.

With grace and delight,

My body sings the joy of Fat Dancing.

 

LINDA KOFFMAN lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a college instructor, writer, and photographer. She is currently combining her poetry and visual art to create unique greeting cards. Her love of words prompted her to become a volunteer on-air reader for the visually impaired. Nature and the outdoors provide her with inspiration, whether she’s walking, swimming, gardening, or relaxing in a shady spot surrounded by a cool


Remember, this is only a taste of what's inside the printed version of the magazine!

 

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