One of America’s best contributions to the world (in my humble opinion) is swing. Big bands, pinstripe suits, and a dance style that isn’t about formality or sexiness, but fun and movement. And the thing has caught on, people. I mean, here I am in Belgium, surrounded by Dutch signs I don’t understand and Dutch conversations that I really don’t understand…and, yet, here is a community of lindy hoppers and a six-piece band that flips back and forth between Ella Fitzgerald and slow French jazz.
And here’s the wonderful thing about knowing how to dance:
It’s a common language. (Not quite as common a language as matters of the heart, but still). People who know how to dance the lindy hop know how to dance the lindy hop. We don’t have to talk. Our bodies do the talking.
I love it.
I guess this has been my theme in Belgium: commonalities and communication. Language itself generally comes from the mind. It is thought-out, structured, learned and culturally specific. Love is the language of our hearts—common to all of us. And then there’s dancing: the language of our bodies.
I may not know Dutch or French, but I do know heartbreak and I do know how to get down.
So, from now on, if someone asks me if I speak the language here in Belgium, I’m going to say Hell, yes, I do. I am fluent in swing-outs, eight counts, and following my heart.
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