• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 10

The next dance

A small crowd has gathered.

They pretend that they are not watching. They want to watch without being watched, to see without being seen.

But they notice the camera, the tripod, the warm up stretches. They notice the something-about-to-happenness.

Warm air is pocketed around the sun-broiled concrete. No council worker has cut the grass since March. This crowd is a city crowd, but their park has grown wilder beneath their feet these last months.

This crowd that is a city crowd has noticed cow parsley and bittercress, dock, daisy and dandelion, springing up where the council strimmers used to fall. More butterflies than last year. A dragonfly or two.

In a way that they had not before, they notice the framing of their view. Green grey green. Blue white blue.

Now me, and you.


The not-watching becomes watching.

It’s time for me and you to do what we came here to. I begin the music. The crowd anticipates. Beady cyclops eyes of a dozen phones watch too.


Me and you give the crowd our bodies, our anatomical geometry. Curves and lines, gravity defied, turning on a pinhead, caught against the clouded skies.

They watch. We watch them back.


The next dance

They see. We see them too.

And then the murmurs start.

A young woman standing at the front hands her phone to her friend, turns toward the crowd, flings her arm to the sun, becomes one with us, and makes shapes in the air, makes shapes that push against and thrill the newly wilded earth.

It isn’t long before another young woman joins, cartwheeling her way into the scene. A father with his baby comes next; the baby squawks and yelps with delight as his arms give her unexpected flight. The woman in the supermarket uniform puts down her bags, lets down her hair and leaps a full pirouette.

This city crowd are on their phones, calling friends, calling family, filming us for them. We dance for people in other boroughs, across town, in faraway lands. We dance alongside people filming as they explain in breathless voices how strange, how beautiful, how light, how gravity itself has changed.

By the next day, we have gone viral in a viral time.

Dancers dance in parks, dancers dance on the street. They dance on beaches, by rivers, they dance in fields. They dance outside state buildings. They dance outside voting booths.

The news is full of it. The experts don't know what to make of it. The politicians are unnerved but for once the politicians stay silent.


The next dance

So instead we fill the screens, our powerful limbs making shapes in the clear bright air. We push against and thrill the rewilded earth, which welcomes our feet and hands, our turns and leaps, our new friendships, our new fraternity.

This is it. This is the next dance. We’re already dancing it.