Travels / Writing

Rhythms

That photo was taken on a night in Seattle which stood out from the rest. It was almost 11pm. It was freezing. We went to get ice cream at Molly Moon’s as it was only appropriate with below freezing temperatures. We left Molly Moon’s and about half way down the block we began to hear the very clear tunes of a big band orchestra. Half way through the cross walk we turned around determined to find the place the music was coming from. I don’t know about you but there’s something magnetic about big band orchestra, something magnetic about the sounds of swing music. I’d of gone to bed that night with those tunes still echoing had we not decided to hunt them down. 
We opened the side door of the building above us and followed the music up some stairs and past a bar on the second story and there it was. A ballroom of your dreams with an intricate decal craved into it’s corners and lined with wood paneling. Dimly lit chandeliers set the mood for a full dance floor. There seemed to be faces from every background and of all ages being spun and lost in the rhythm. Some wore their old blue jeans, their graphic tee and others were in suit and tie and closed toe heels. That was all minor detail however because what really stood out to me was how naturally everyone came together to dance. How gracefully their hands held together just long enough to spin their partners. Strangers in sync. One minute you could be dancing with a woman in a big teal skirt and the next you could be on the complete other side hand in hand with a man reminiscent of your grandfather. 
Sometimes you begin to actually believe that the stories that sound to good to be true are just that: too good to be true. That the stories of ballrooms filled of a different era aren’t around anymore. Yet, there it was in chilly Seattle, Washington on a Tuesday night. I listened in to hear strangers ask each other to dance then I watched them dance as if they’d been rehearsing all day. Anything goes at the Century Ballroom. So long there’s music in the air, it’s a time capsule with no self awareness. I’m pretty sure I was smiling from the moment I stepped foot in there till the moment I closed the building door behind me. The only thing louder than the saxophones and trumpets was the energy. 
As we walked back to our apartment I noticed all the different strangers. I’d see two people on opposite ends of the street and like a true hopeless romantic I wondered if they’d be willing to share a dance the way the other strangers did. If people only knew how timeless those shared moments are, would they give into the rhythms? If they realized the whole ballroom was filled of intuition and euphoria, would they stay till the night closed in? 
I’ve always said that the sound of a crowd in chant is one of the most chilling things in the world. After Tuesday’s encounter I can add another feeling to match. 

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