That moment of melancholy …

The very creative and intelligent lettered bellydancer Amara who lives in Austin TX performed one of her more recent choreographies this year at the International Bellydance Conference of Canada.  With DIY interactive lighting design provided by a row of audience members who had been given flashlights and allowed to kinetically spotlight the dancer as she entered from the back of the room with a lonely stare, Amara evoked the feelings named in the title of her dance “That Moment of Melancholy While Traveling.”  As I watched her dance oscillate between interspective and joyous I related to that beautiful sentiment of melancholy when traveling. 
I thought about times in India when I had traveled on overnight trains alone, watching the dusk then dawn-lit scenery chug by from the rail car window as I listened to my ipod and thought about home and momentary without-homeness.  There have been many times when I have found myself alone in a hotel room in a strange foreign city for the first time, whether it was in Osaka, Venice, or Bogota, looking out the window half in fascination and half in fear.  I look at the comfort of the newly made bed and back out the window to a place where I don’t know how to speak to people or where to go, wondering which option I should choose and wishing I had a good friend to accompany me on adventure and make me brave.  I usually choose outside and tamely search nearby for coffee or a market or a place to sit and drink, be left alone and people watch. I prepare for my workshops and keep close to my temporary home until a local can introduce me to the terrain and public transportation. Instead of a hunkydory feeling of freedom and excitement, a sweet sadness usually finds me in these solitary moments.  I don’t know why but it is a great way to feel when you need perspective on your own life and circumstances. Quiet sweetly sad moments bring new ideas and gratitude.
Today as I set out alone for three weeks working in new places I feel this sweet sadness.  Swiss countryside and cities await me and after that Rome and Moscow.  I have only been in airports so far but I already have begun to reflect on where I am in life and what I have accomplished and have yet to do.  I wonder why traveling makes me take stock of what is happening at home. Amara’s word “melancholy” is better than sadness and a more accurate description of the mood that strikes me when I am on my way somewhere from somewhere else.  I look forward to these new places and I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere other than the place I am right now -in between.


About April Rose

Bellydancer | Choreographer | Researcher M.A., Dance Studies, UCLA Dance Thoughtfully. Dance Playfully.
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