Hips, the hips…of tradition

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Tom Ze, a Brazilian ‘pop’ singer from the 60s and 70s, who was very much into Dada, etc. had an album called “The Hips of Tradition.” What is it with hips, the architecture of natal passageways? The focal point, pseudo-center of gravity, spiritual center of gravity of man, woman, and man-woman? The sway of hips, the tap of dancing feet, the twist and turn of torsos in rhthym. Does dance come from the basic time keeping of the heart? If so, why is it so hard for some of us? I read that Caetano Veloso’s favorite beat is that #/# beat (I’m not a musician) of the beating human heart. You hear it in your head, feel it in your arms. It propels those quarts of red blood around your body, forcing them through untold miles of passageways into capillaries too small to see or think of so that the getting-blue blood can soak up the oxygen from the heaving sacs of air, your lungs, and push it up to every thirsting cell wall in your physical nature. That’s the dance of the metabolism, the mystery of the organism again. And dancing is, I think, a grand celebration of that, and much else besides, obviously. Besides courtship, besides flirtation, besides social regulation of the sexual drive into sanctioned ways and byways of marriage-property relations, besides the release of the body and the mind from the endlessly demanding and stultifying international work machine that exists and has its existence simply as a means by which to make all of us replaceable, while when one is dancing, or watching a human dance, one can imagine and believe that anyone and everyone is unique and irreplaceable, and priceless.

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