‘Fancy going to a concert’?
An afficionado of Trance and Hardcore music was making the suggestion, so I was a tad suspicious…
‘What’s on?’ I ask through narrowed eyes…
‘Royal Philharmonic…’That was unexpected…
‘What are they playing?’ I ask, reeling a little in surprise.
‘Ravel, Elgar… Tchaikovsky…’
So last night I was escorted to the theatre, where the baton of Christoph König became a magic wand. The Ravel was light and verdant, but it was the Elgar cello concerto that got my escort… Jamie Walton, was superb. In one of the most beautiful phrases ever, my escort told me later he must have ‘got music in his eyes.’
(Do click the links for the music. Jamie Walton’s Elgar is here ..ignore the advert.. it is incredibly beautiful… and the video is taken in Yorkshire too!).
For me, of course, it was the Tchaikovsky symphony.
Not all of Tchaikovsky’s music was written for ballet… but all of it speaks to the dancer that still sleeps in every cell. I could close my eyes and choreograph the movements, seeing them danced on stage, written by the music itself as a love song to the body, feeling them echoed in my own. There is a yearning still to dance, a physical pull in the depths of being, evoked by the strings of the violin like a marionette… or like Coppélia.
And, of course, though it sings to me of ballet, the symphony also holds a waltz. Ballet my damaged toes will no longer permit… a waltz I will dance given the slightest provocation.
It is a year since I last danced a waltz… with a partner anyway. Before that it was forty years. For a brief moment I could suddenly afford dancing lessons again. My friend Karolyne was staying with me and came along to that first lesson, pointing a video camera. Uncomfortable as I felt about that at the time, she gave me a great gift, capturing a moment of pure magic for me.
“Lets’ see what you remember,” said the teacher. After forty years I didn’t expect much, I admit. Yet what my mind had forgotten, my body remembered, it seemed. One turn of the floor later and caught on camera… “You haven’t forgotten hardly anything.”
What you don’t see are the tears of sheer joy pricking my eyelids… the huge bubble of happiness welling up through my body. Even now, watching it back, I can feel it and it brings tears to my eyes. So what if the technique was poor, if there were mistakes… who cared? For a few weeks last year I danced again. Foxtrot, quickstep, tango… all the Latin dances…and the waltzes. My poor teacher summed it up on the second week. “You’re not here to learn… you just need someone to dance with.”
Common sense would have said that there were far better uses for that bit of extra cash… common sense doesn’t make your body, heart and soul sing a paean of joy. It doesn’t fill every particle of being with a love that sparkles. *Writer pauses to grab tissues…*
Those few weeks were a gift. So was the video…the visible memory with the soundtrack of joy.
Last night too was a gift, sharing beauty with my escort… whose street-cred demands he remain nameless… watching him discover the glory in the music.
You cannot make other people happy. No matter what you do. Happiness comes only from within. It is something we find in our own inner being, not outside. It doesn’t depend on any material thing… or on any person…though the circumstances that help us access those moments may be created by them, it is not the thing, the person or the money that makes joy, but what is behind it and we find it called up to within our reach.
I was recently sent the most beautiful handmade crystal necklace. In itself it is a lovely thing, and the ‘feel’ of it is incredible. Yet it is the fact that it had been made with such care and sent halfway across the world, just for me, that makes it so special… it was the human care behind it that makes it precious and beautiful… and it is that I feel each time I look at it or wear it. It opens a door within through which I touch joy.
No matter how much or how little we have, joy can always be found. It often makes no sense except in being the essence of itself. What we can do, however, is create a moment in which others can find that joy within; what we can do is share those moments with them… and then they become doubly precious gifts.