Why Humans Dance (or The Dance is Life) – Ndemange Mutuku

Looking from the outside in, it is Genesis remembered. The stool at the bar is my balcony seat, and from here I behold-as on a stage- the universe reborn; mankind is formed once more from sweet terra mater, once more the earth is subdued and we overrun it. As all men, I am an actor in the play that is tonight. But I play the audience. I am the eyes looking inward at the workings of the body, the individual discovering the self, the introspective mind questioning its machinations.

The lights of the laser beam display pierce the heavy night. At the herald of each beam, darkness flees. It is just as at that Beginning when light was called forth from nothing. But the light is no more veiled in the modest cloak of white it donned at time’s birth. Her bare self bursts forth in its full glory. In the Beginning, it was gentle chastisement she dealt to eternal night. But tonight- too long has the shadow wielded its ghastly power; tonight the cup of her wrath is full, and from it she bids night drink deep the wine of her techni-color fury. Every hue in her arsenal in unleashed, and as darkness takes flight at her advance she imbues her blush to whatever it is her naked and weightless self lies with: and it lives- every flash a vivifying beat of her brilliant heart; It speaks: colours blended in that unutterable lyric that whispers passion to the darkest caverns of the human psyche. There is light. And the light is good.

Every flash of light, every baring of her perfect form is met with the approval of rhythm. At first it is only an odd nod here and there and a snapping of those semiquaver fingers- like an audible beating of light’s brilliant heart. Then there is an approach and an over-the-shoulder whispering of pleasant nothings. There are clearly two hearts now. And then the beat throws his arms around light and draws her close. There is a maddening acceleration of the rhythm of the beating of hearts. Soon it is impossible to tell flash from rhythm and light from music. Every hue is a note and all pitch a shade in this rainbow symphony.

And suddenly in the midst of the color and song ballet, as if painted against the canvas that is fleeing blackness, there is movement. Formless shadows melding and parting like lips in a stolen kiss – limbless, headless things. Things melded into one being that heaves to and fro with the up-beat and the down-beat of the music. This creature breathes song, eats song, lives song.

I rouse from my dreamy observations at the calling of my name. Suddenly, the fluid scene that I have been drinking in descends into chaos. The song and color ballet becomes a riotous shuffle and dub-step. The song breathing, song eating, song living beast is fragmented into countless personas, some single, some paired, each sweat-soaked and glistening and panting from the endless movement. They are slave to the music. And hard does the music ride them- a savage, unrelenting dominatrix that will hear none of their pleas for relief.

The siren whose name-calling shattered my dream is now tugging at my hand, smiling ear to ear. Her eyes betray possession by forces so primal they are beyond our understanding. Her lithe body still sways in the ever ebbing current of song. She was definitely not formed from clay-this lass; for even were the most sacred pope-kissed earth mixed with the holiest of Vatican-well drawn waters, were the finest of artist’s hands to thereafter mould that most sanctified mud into a being, was the purest air from the loftiest of mountain peaks breathed into that being, even then, that being would pale, nay it would be dross, when compared to her. I feel my side. Everything about her smarts of divine handiwork. She whispers in my ear for me to join her in the revelry, and then she steps back and swings her waist this way and that. I look to my virgin Pina on the counter…


The music eases her hold on her subjects. They have been driven hard for close to an hour now by the rhythmic cracking of her polyphonic whip. Endogenous opioids flood their brains. Post-dance bliss kicks in and they all stagger, grin-faced and giggly to couches and stools and each others arms. There is a lusty lustre in their eyes, as the men behold their women and the women behold their men. None doubts the intent they read in the other’s eyes. It is Genesis remembered.


I never took the invitation.

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