Sunday, October 30, 2011
At this party of friends, family, colleagues, we sat among dancers. Jan, Lana, Scott, Tirsa, John, Inna, and Julia herself (Miss Cristina was also among us, looking lovely), to be precise. We were privileged amateurs among impeccably attired super stars (and I do not exaggerate; Jan and Lana will soon be appearing in a major movie alongside actors such as Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper; Scott was once the nation's mambo champion). We were also quite simply friends among friends.
What perpetually interests me about dancers is how smart they are, how diversified their interests, how capable of telling stories with far more than words. That angling of a shoulder speaks volumes, for example, as does the slight, purposeful turn of the head. Jan raises his eyebrow, and his opinion is known. Lana reports on science with the blue light of her eyes. John brings mischief to his laugh; there is an emphatic grace in Inna's hands; Tirsa moves her wrist and her whole arm sparkles; Cristina is perpetually, stunningly alive; and there's that thing Scott does when he's telling a story, which is to lean in and then lean back, wait for the pulse. Dancers hardly need words at all when they are telling their stories.
When it was time to dance, we danced, easy with the songs that Julia and Gene had chosen on a ballroom floor laid for our feet. The rumba, the cha-cha, the salsa, the foxtrot, the bolero, the waltz, back to the foxtrot. Those dancers know how to move, and they swept us into their graces, and later, around midnight, when we walked the streets of Philadelphia at their side (among Halloween ghouls and ghosts and vampires), I thought of how it must be to move through the world like that—so full of sway and suggestible spine.
My husband and I woke in a room downtown this morning, headed to the Reading Market for breakfast, went up to the Art Museum and walked our favorite wing. I took a photograph, then, of this Renoir painting, because this gorgeous child is not speaking, not a word, and yet she's full of story. Julia and Gene, thank you for giving us such a rich and memorable evening on a weekend of historic weather. We will remember it always with fondness.