Tuesday the 30th of October, I had the pleasure of going to OSU’s Hillel Jewish Center to attend an evening of Israeli dancing. While my attendance was a requirement for a Laban Analysis assignment, it wasn’t accompanied by the normal behavioral characteristics that one associates with just meeting the “requirement.”
Upon arrival, I peered in the window, witnessing a prayer vigil for the victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting. I was immediately struck by the significance of what I was about to experience. As I walked up the stairs and met my classmates, we spoke of our mutual weightedness of the situation and wondered if it would affect the outcomes of the evening. Within minutes, the elder of the group Mimi came over to speak in a grateful and welcoming manner. As she told us how the evening would progress, I couldn’t help but stare at her thick, tan, and wizened skin, graciously feathered by her salt and pepper hair. I could feel historical residue seeping out of her every pour. I have had teachers that resemble this character or energy, but never one large enough that it reached my own sensorial navigation of the space.
In awe, it did the exact opposite. I feel that I got the truest sense of the community, as each person showed up in solidarity to support each other, their culture, and to dance as a sign of healing and rejoicing. As we danced the step oriented rhythmically patterned dances, I noticed how badly my cheeks hurt from smiling so much; I looked at Mimi and witnessed the purest smile, as if we were feeling the same thing.
I am humbled by the multi-generations and inclusivity I felt in the space. Throughout the evening, multiple people asked my name and my interests, and on multiple occurrences asked me to come back. I’m truly considering it! There were high schoolers with their parents and students of the university that come for the community. This experience came at just the right time in the semester when things were feeling heavy and unreachable. Just a few smiles and dancing just to dance helped me realize I’m still present in my own body even though it has felt buried under all the external inputs and voices.
Here is a little clip from the event. Enjoy!