“Contact Dance in the Mission District” by Dawn Banghart
She is there, sitting on the dance studio lower bleachers
untying tennis shoe laces
socks off, toes touching the rough paint chipped floor
spandex tights snug at the knees, hugging her thick thighs
a loose silk shirt swirls as she walks
across the floor past us the small pod of early arrivals.
She opens the windows and breeze rolls across her hand.
We are on the second floor overlooking an intersection
three burrito shops, two bus stops, a BART station
and a woman with a microphone wielding Jesus like a club.
It’s Alejandra, the dancer’s turn to speak.
She challenges the wall of mirrors
becomes larger here
larger than the pigeon hunched pedestrians below.
This is the place she comes to bend back, stretch
one hand on her hip, one forearm a curtain across her face
fingers postured high past the crown of her head.
Then her chest lifts, an offering.
Now. She dips and around spins
tucking in and dropping low
stretching up, hands out, ribs high
all open, tilting over into a fall and roll
so forgotten, so blurred
she becomes her brother’s flipping peso.
Her orange sun silk flutters, memory obscures
a nun’s open fan flitting on the Yucatan bus
wings flapping, a chicken held by the ankles
eddies of warm beer spilt into wet mouths
the aroma of tamales wrapped in napkins
the bus axle rumbling Mexico’s hip bones
anybody’s reason to go to the ruins
a dance on the infinite rise of stone stairs up going up
once more up.
Alejandra’s feet are bleeding again.
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Dawn Banghart Artist Statement:
Dawn works as a health physicist at Stanford University who prefers to view the
world upside down and sideways using words, photography, sports and love as a
glue and safety net.