The Tragedy of Roots: To a Dancer by Katherine McDaniel


March 5, 2015 by katmcdaniel

Dance can circumvent words and create bonds across cultures. Could we allow the empathy it creates guide our daily lives?

Sattriya Dancer, India © Subhrajit with CCLicense

Sattriya Dancer, India
© Subhrajit with CCLicense

To a Dancer is a poem I wrote for a variety show that took place last weekend here in Houston, Mosaic Hub‘s Chocolate Soiree. It was lovely to be able to read my work for a paying audience and wonderful to be followed by a pair of wonderful dancers, Helena Tokarew and Chris Simon. Their smoldering performance gave this piece an added dimension.

In To A Dancer, a girl is mesmerized by the dance of a community alien to her own. She recognizes the energy, kindness and love embodied by a particular dancer, as well as the sense of belonging and place conferred on him by the dance. She would love to join in, but fears that her participation would be misinterpreted, both by members of her community and his.

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There are so many motivations swirling under the surface of this girl. She is below the dancer’s notice, foreign to his circle, a child just beginning to feel the first surges of feminine emotion and hormones. This saves her, for now, from the embarrassment of being discovered. She is intrigued by his otherness, by the close nature of his community during the dance and by the beauty of his body. There is a sense of incipient sexuality, something which she hasn’t yet understood. If she allows herself to dream and, miraculously, her feelings are later returned, this could be the beginning of a cross culture romance.

For today she is merely a girl who would love to belong and to be able to trust. Will that trust betray her tomorrow, or will it lead her to a world in which cultures may coexist and share with one another?


2 thoughts on “The Tragedy of Roots: To a Dancer by Katherine McDaniel

  1. […] presented “To a Dancer”, which you can read here. It deals with a cultural divide– a young woman watching a dance desires to join in, but is […]

  2. katmcdaniel says:

    Reblogged this on synkroniciti and commented:

    This week we are confronting xenophobia. This is a poem I wrote a couple of years ago that illustrates how dance and movement can cut across the barriers of race and creed. What a world it would be if we could all dance together without fear!

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