Last night, Annie and I went into the city to see Come Fly Away, a musical set to the music of Frank Sinatra. I will admit that I did no research into this production, but was excited, as I am a big fan of "Ol' Blue Eyes". So when the musical was bereft of any dialogue, and consisted solely of a hot brass band and fourteen incredibly talented dancers, I was not as dissappointed as the gentleman behind me who, two numbers in, audibly scoffed, "Well, this sucks!" and walked out.
Offering a perfect counterpoint was a much more light-hearted couple whos story was told over several numbers, arcing throughout the entire production. The couple offered an element of humor as the man embodied the uncertain yet energetic joy of young love. The woman was also coy and unsure of how to react to the mans bizarre courtship dance. They swirled around each other with awkward yet perfectly timed movements, making contact for brief moments, then again moving away with naive trepidation. As the couple continued to dance, their confidence grew, the intimate interactions prolonged, and the passion intensified. These two dancers created in simply a few songs the the entire lifecycle of a relationship, from initial meeting to passionate love to domestic contentment. Not only did the show the love, desire, and bliss, but they showed the spats, the misunderstandings, and the fears as well.
While few of us can move our bodies with such synchronized and nuanced perfection, Come Fly Away reminded me of the value of body language and nonverbal communication. We put so much emphasis on language - conversations on the phone, instant messenger, texting, facebook. But how often do we stop listening - stop talking - and pay attention to what a persons body is telling us?
Eye contact, posture, and gestures all provide pertinent clues to the message a person is trying to convey. English is such a convoluted language, which leads to rampant miscommunication and a general lack of clarity. By valueing nonverbal communication as equally important as the words we craft, a bigger picture is evident.
Come Fly Away made me want to dance (recreationally, not professionally). Many say that my ability to dance leaves a lot to be desires and provides a great deal of entertainment, and that is OK with me. I want to dance because of the connection created when moving in rhythmic symbiosis with another person. I want to dance because there is something euphoric and unbridling that occurs when you move your entire body with the beat of good music. I want to dance because dancing evokes that youthful spirit that is all to often locked in the catacombs of your soul by the daily grind of the adult life.
I want to dance!