Flock Of Birds

Flock of Birds“.  That’s what we call it in my Bellydancing Class.  It’s when we’re all moving in time with each other, like those big flocks of blackbirds I see this time of year, all moving together creating swiftly, shifting shapes in the sky.

Since learning to Bellydance, I appreciate not only other Bellydancers, but any dancers I see, so much more.

Part of what makes dancers  so wonderful to watch, is that they make what they do, look easy.

Yesterday Jon and I went to the Bishop Maginn School to visit Sue Silverstein and the students who have found a second home in her art room this summer.  While we were there, some of the students who are refugees from Myanmar, were practicing a dance for the “Wrist Tying” ceremony that is part of their Karen Culture.

The Karen Culture is rich in textile, music and dance.  Each dance tells a different story and the women wear traditional handmade clothes.  Some of it hand woven.

I loved watching their hands, which move so fluidly,  and how they seem to effortlessly move around each other, their feet making many tiny steps.

I was also aware of how their long straight skirts made the movement of their bodies, seem to flow in a long line.  Like seaweed undulating in water, or grass moving gently in the wind.  I appreciated their stamina, and dedication.  I know they must practice a lot to be able to dance the way they do.

I’ll think of them when I go to my Bellydancing class tonight.

How these young women grew up watching and then learning this dance, which is such an important part of their culture.  And how it binds them together, not just  in the dance, but in their relationships to each other.

I imagine the dance must be a comfort to them, after losing their homes and possessions in Myanmar and coming to the United States.  Because they could bring the dance with them. Something known in all the unfamiliar.

I’m also thinking of how, at age 55, am learning to dance for the first time in my life, and creating my own culture.  Finding my own flock to fly with.

2 thoughts on “Flock Of Birds

  1. Dear Maria, I had the privileged opportunity in 2012 to help a refugee Karen girl from Myanmar learn to write and spell in English. Her speaking was fluent. At the end of our year together, she was able to write a beautiful term paper about her Karen culture. But it was sad to see how much she was leaving it all behind to fit in with other American teenagers. Fortunately, the other teens in her highschool loved her, but the only time she let anyone glimpse her original culture was in that term paper. This dancing and the costumes are so beautiful!

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