When I can no longer run, I hope to still dance…

Bruce Springsteen has lovingly talked about his mother in recorded interviews on E Street Radio and during his Springsteen on Broadway show. Endearingly and poetically, he has created beautiful images of his mother’s forever love of dancing even during the throngs of her Alzheimer’s journey. Predictably, physically, and happily she has always responded to music by dancing. Springsteen mentioned how Big Band music once sent her joyfully moving across the floors of their family home. While visiting his now family home she is greeted with music according to Springsteen and gracefully her feet and body remember what is intrinsic to her soul…

I have never had the gift or the ability to dance. That doesn’t mean I have not tried. I have. Tap dancing lessons at age five. My recital tap shoes painted silver by my mother sit proudly on my bookcase in my studio. Weekly ballet classes through my high school years were taught by an ever-patient retired ballerina. She was petite like me, so I lived in false hope. Awkwardly I even found myself “dancing” on pointe shoes. A college dance class and performance were bold moves for this introvert. I so wanted to dance. I had independently developed my own style over my many Rock n’ roll dancing years where one moves in the orbit of another person but you are really just doing your own thing. Whatever that is…

I have been much more successful with my “running rhythm” than my “dancing rhythm.” The pavement has been more welcoming to this dancing dreamer than the stage, but none the less I love to dance!!!! My running may be changing and quite possibly waning, but I hope I will always be able to dance…

I have studied dance and dancers always. Viewed many dance performances from the red velvet seats of the audience. Baryshnikov at the Lincoln Center. From the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker at the Wang Theater to my daughter’s recitals at local venues. I have painted dancers with some acumen making these compositions my most cherished artistic endeavor. The freeform of dancing alone in my studio happens often. Music guides my brush and my spirit…

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” — Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

My love for dance has been passed down to my granddaughter. She is thrilled to dance with me. At age two anyway. Belle and I love our dance parties as they are a judgement free zone. Some dance parties are more fabulously energetic than others. Every morsel of her being moves when she dances. Belle genuinely hears and feels the music in her toddler way and freely expresses. I hold her tiny hands to support the wild effort as she smiles to her broadest extent…

Watching the Disney movie Encanto with her is more about the dancing than the viewing. A favorite Encanto song begins, and we are on our feet. An initial stiff legged swaying movement moves us robotically side to side. Our heads begin to bob to the music either acknowledging the beat or not. Soon our moves escalate into basically running in place. We jointly hit it hard with squeals of laughter filling our private dance hall. Belle reaches up as her tiny hand wraps around my pointer finger one digit at a time. Twirling while gently holding my finger. Trusting my delicate support while she twirls too many times in the same direction evolving or devolving depending on your perspective into dizzying spins. We pause for the room to right itself and sit for a moment while the metronome of our hearts beat as one. We giggle at our self-made fun and eagerly wait for the next song…

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.” Martha Graham

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Elizabeth Ricketson

Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts.