SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 207: “Opening the Gateway”

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” Martha Graham

“For thirty-two years I worked in law enforcement with the LAPD, I never thought I would be a dancer.

Then after forty years of marriage, my wife died. It left a tremendous void in my life. We did everything together. My grief was deep and I needed a diversion from my pain.

I found a coupon for six dance lessons, and thinking it would be an escape from my heartache, I signed up. I told myself that it would be like learning a golf stroke; I’d take the six lessons… and move on. I was completely wrong.

Dance healed me of my grief.”

At sixty-seven and with the vitality of a twenty-one year old, John shares his outlook on life, and of the here after.

“The pathway to heaven is paved with all the smiles you put on people’s faces.” John reviews as he exuberantly exhorts in talking of what he calls, “Opening the Gateway.”

A gateway that he openly credits to the art of dance in being the key to his rebirth; and in this, he gives acknowledgment to the instruction of Karina Smirnoff for her talents and perspective.

It’s been three and a half years since I started dancing. At first, many of my friends mocked my decision, now they admire it. I’ve been blessed to dance, and will never stop.

Only yesterday we talked of smiles with the comments of our seventeen year old friend Cassidy, and today it is curious that this token of solidarity would arise again in meeting John.

For each, the reasoning for their smiling disposition differs, but as foretold by Pie Maker Matty, “All things happen for a reason.”

And perhaps for some untold reason, we are all needing a smile this day. A smile that through the stories of Cassidy and John has allowed us a first witnesses to the compression of a generation gap. A gap that perhaps we can bridge with one profound gesture: The power of the smile.

“The world is shrinking and at some point we well all be under the same umbrella. All will merge in acceptance; ages, races, sexes and religions. Judgment will decrease and no longer will be the case for global conflict.

I’m not saying that there will be no conflict; it will just be more on a personal level. More reason for us to find the common ground.”

“For me, Dance has been answer.” John concludes.

“The truest expressing of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie”Agnes do Mille.

John, we hear you in your movement. Smile on and keep rocking the Pasodoble… my eloquent friend.