Dancing Around the Living Room

imagesToday finds me dancing around the living room. Just a little. A few twirls. A slide across the floor. A kick here and there.

And it’s all because of the frisky little orange button you see to your right.

You know, the one that says, “Subscribe in a reader.” Yes. I finally got my RSS and email subscriptions active. Because try as I might, I couldn’t figure it out on my own.

So I tracked down Jeb over at websiteorblog, and I’m sure glad I did. He got me hooked up right away. And did it in such a gracious, charming, helpful manner that I’ll be using his services again down the road. His rates are eminently reasonable, so go, check out his site if you’re in need of technical tutoring.

Ah, it’s so nice to be part of the club now. When I started poking around other people’s blogs, only to discover that everyone had this subscription thing going, I began to feel a bit like the only kid in class who hasn’t figured out the math problem. But I’m very thankful to those of you who actually asked me about it; without your interest and nudge, who knows how long it would have taken me to get going on it?

So here it is. Go nuts. Subscribe away! (I had to try it out myself and I believe I am my own first subscriber).

All good reasons for my exuberant little dance around the living room, don’t you think? But, truth be told, I’m skipping the light fantastic not just because of my subscription feeds.

No, I’m also in a dancing mood because I recently watched Every Little Step.

Not only does the movie chronicle months of grueling auditions for the recent Broadway revival of A Chorus Line, but it also explores the incredible birthing of the original production.

When I think about how the show came to be, I get goose bumps (the good kind). A group of dancers gather in the wee small hours to tell their stories. A bottle of cheap wine provides the lubrication. Their words flow. And then art is made from those stories.

Stories. If you’ve read my about page, you know that I’ve always loved stories.

They enchant me, and I have an ongoing urge to collect and retell them. To use them to entertain and inspire. Because human beings are meaning makers, and one of the primary ways we do that is by telling and hearing stories.

And what better way to listen to a story than through the work of an artist?

I’m reminded of a quote from The Courage to Create, by Rollo May:

When we appreciate a creative work, we are also performing a creative act. When we engage a painting we are experiencing some new moment of sensibility. Some new vision is triggered in us by our contact with the painting; something unique is born within us. This is why appreciation of the music or painting or other works of the creative person is also a creative act on our part.

When I think about my experience of A Chorus Line, it does indeed feel like a creative act. My cousin and I sat mesmerized in a theatre in San Francisco during the original production’s first tour. When the character of Diana sang “Kiss Today Goodbye,” we held hands and wept, because it was so moving.

Thirty years later, I found myself again in a San Francisco theatre (maybe even the same one), this time with my husband by my side. Watching the revival before it left for Broadway. And once more, living, laughing, crying, striving, and growing through the stories of these same characters.

I remember countless other times when I engaged with works of art and was taken to that place of vision that Rollo May talks about in the quote above.

Paintings. Sculptures. Photographs. Concerts. Symphonies. Plays. Books. Solo performances. Duets. The list goes on.

And I am better for it. All of it.

What about you? What’s your most memorable experience of engaging with a work of art? Let’s share those stories here and enrich each other’s lives by telling them.



14 thoughts on “Dancing Around the Living Room

  1. I have no visual arts education so hopefully I’m using the right words, but Van Gogh has always really engaged me. It’s like his work is neither simply representational nor is it abstract to the point that you see whatever you want to see.

    It’s more like by looking at his paintings you get a feel for what it must have been like to look at your visual surroundings through his eyes. To me that’s amazing artistry, and I find the view through his eyes full of both great love and great pain – a very human yet transcendent thing.

    • Oh Paul, this is beautiful the way you say it. It is transcendent to experience that view of life through an artist’s eyes. And Van Gogh certainly was a man who dwelled in both the light and dark of it. And another of my most memorable experiences is a Van Gogh exhibit that toured the country when I was 15. Years later, it is still burned into my memory, and I will never forget being up close and personal with his work. Thanks much for your comments.

  2. Welcome to the club! So glad you finally have an rss button. I looked around when I first discovered you so please know I’ll be subscribing.

    Wow, I’ve had many experiences that have transported me to another place. With live music, paintings, photographs, sculptures, movies, books, etc. I could talk about the Sistine Chapel, or a Salvador Dali exhibit, or Banana Yoshimoto books or Sebastiao Salgado photographs to name a few.

    Or better yet, I could talk about a very simple experience this evening while I was kneading play-do with my son. Ella Fitzgerald’s “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” came on and I was overcome with joy, I hugged my little guy tight and sang along with Ella. At that moment, everything was perfect.

    • Hi Belinda – I love how you capture that moment: your little guy, Ella, and play-do. Bliss! Such a good reminder that these experiences can happen anytime, anywhere. Not to dismiss the Sistine Chapel or Dali or the rest of it, of course. But I do love being captured by music, especially a vocalist like Ella. She was the best. And it’s almost like she opens her arms and invites you to sing along. Thanks!

  3. Patty — I am proud of you for getting your RSS up. It is very helpful for people to subscribe. I have your site in my reader!

    Regarding your question, I have two very diverse memorable experiences. The first was a Barry Manilow concert, which was amazing. He puts on such a show.

    My second experience was a concert put on my U2. I got sort of talked into this one by my girls and then loved it. Bono and his band are so charismatic…it just radiates out from them.

    Thanks for reminding about these concerts and I really enjoyed this post:~)

    • Hi Sara – Thanks so much for your comments. That must have been cool to see Barry Manilow. Sometime in the past year he surprised Bette Midler on some show (can’t remember which one) and they did a song together. And although I know they each went their separate ways and became stars, I always think of them together back in those early days. And U2 – oh yeah! They must be amazing to see in concert.

  4. Hi,
    Small world because I just used Jeb for my husband’s new blog. He is very good and very nice!

    For me it was The Lion King. I went to see it in Canada with my daughter Nicole the first time. We both cried in three different parts.

    About 3 years ago my husband, grandduaghter and grandson went to Chicago to see it. I enjoyed it like I never saw it before. My grandkids were mezmorized.

    I bought the tickets for $100 each on line and as a bonus they told us to go to the VIP booth and pick up a package.
    We each recieved a bag with a Lion King base ball cap and a souvenir book. On the back of the cap there was “VIP.”

    My grandson asked,”Nana, what’s VIP mean?” “Oh, that stands for Very Important Person!” They immediately placed the caps on their heads and wore them the entire weekend in Chicago. When we went to eat our meals the server never failed to say, “You saw the Lion King?” And AJ (age 10) would answer, “It was the best day of my life.” And Kenzie (age 13) would chime in, “It was worth every cent!” (they noticed the cost on the ticket)!

    The following spring at the talent show at his school my grandson decided to sing Kahuna Matada, wear a grass skirt and dance! I have a photo of him and his buddies on stage. I just may blog about it if I could figure out how to scan the photo!
    Thanks for allowing me to relive the memory!

    • Hi Tess – That’s neat that you used Jeb too. I’m so glad to have found him. And I absolutely love your Lion King story – thanks for sharing it with us. Your telling of it gives me not only the wonderful experience of the show, but also the love you feel for your grandchildren and the joy you take in their joy. And the story keeps on giving, with the talent contest. It would be a lovely blog post, with or without photo. I also like the story because I came late to the Lion King, and I just saw it for the first time in June of this year. So it’s still very fresh in my memory.

  5. Hi there, I stumbled upon your blog today and I took a look around. It’s a nice corner of the www you have here! I just wanted to say that, although I’m no expert (I just started my own blog a week or two ago), I can help you out with some blog related questions – if of course, you have any left after using the website you recommended. I might not have all the answers, but I do feel like I’ve learned a lot since I began. Plus, if I don’t know the answers, chances are that I’ll want to know it. We can learn together, in that case. 🙂

    Anyway, keep up the great work!

  6. HI Patty
    For me it was listening to classical music with my dad. We both loved it and we could sit and just be taken away by the sound. Music still does it, music stops everything for me and can hold me in its grasp.

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