Modern Dance - Old Fashioned Dad

If you met me you would probably think I was an eighteen stone, ex-rugby playing, northern male. This is of course true but I do have a softer side that has been revealed over time whilst bringing up four beautiful daughters. I occasionally cry at sad films, notice what my wife is wearing, and try to phone my mother once a week.

Anyway this week the man described above was invited to a performance of modern dance by the Leeds based company known as the Phoenix Modern Dance Company.

I agreed to go because a very close family friend is one of their performers.

In a way I was only going to offer support knowing that I have rarely understood or enjoyed dance.

We arrived at the venue and there was a sense of anticipation from the crowd and I felt it easy to get caught up with the general buzz.

The dance started and I have to say that I was immediately captivated by everything that I saw. It was truly amazing. The strength, the agility, the control, the grace, the passion; It was almost too much to believe.

After the first act I compared note with Mrs M and the parents of our star dancer. The female members of the party seemed to get every nuance of the movement and hidden storyline whilst I, and the dancer's father, were slightly bemused.

It wasn't that we didn't appreciate what we saw; it was amazing. It was that the story that our wives described didn't seem obvious to us.

I concluded that modern dance, as with all other art forms, has its own language. If, as I was, you are unaware of its subtleties you will not fully understand what is being communicated.

The second act started and I tried to concentrate a little harder, hoping to catch up with Mrs M and our friend in order to understand the story.

Once again it was quite simply breath taking; it was passionate without being gratuitous. It was energetic without being frantic.

At the end my bride asked for my opinion on the storyline. I figured that the slow bits were trying to express a different narrative that the fast bits but I just couldn't offer a coherent explanation.

The females seemed to just get it without explanation, whilst we males were in awe but none the wiser.

Did I enjoy the evening; one hundred percent. Did I understand what was happening; not at all. Would I go again; in a heartbeat.

It was an incredible experience and I took the time to express my gratitude to all concerned.

It seems that appreciating other people's worlds does not rely upon understanding the local language. It just takes a certain open mindedness and a willingness to turn up.

If this eighteen-stone, ex-rugby player can do it, and then anyone can do it. Well-done Phoenix Dance Company. If only I could dance.

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