Good Things Just Keep Happening

When it comes to dancing, good vibrations and positivity–good things just keep happening. Take last Sunday night at the Fox Theater, for example. I went there with friends to close out an already grand day (which is another example of Good Things Just Keep Happening—but more about that later.)

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At the edge of a vibrating crowd I watched, listened and grooved as the beautiful Macy Gray performed her soulful, raspy, R&B singing style. To my ears and limbs, many of her songs beat with magic and good things. Beauty in the World is one of my favorites. If you don’t know this song, find it online right now. Watch the video. How can you not smile and dance when you hear her sing these lines:

There is beauty in the world

So much beauty in the world

Always beauty in the world

So much beauty in the world

Shake your booty boys and girls for the beauty in the world

Pick your diamond pick your pearl there is beauty in the world

All together now

There really is so much beauty in the world, and the concert Sunday night, and that song, were icing on an already yummy, wonder-filled day of good things happening in my world. I’d been at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility for a Dance 2B Free class earlier that day. Talk about ‘shaking your booty for beauty in the world’!

Since the first D2BF class in July, I’ve returned to DWCF numerous times to dance with the women imprisoned there. It is always a complex and brilliant experience.

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Some days the gym is packed with sixty-five women, all moving a left foot, then a right foot, lifting arms upward. The sound system and microphone work seamlessly. On days like these, everything is in the same rhythm.

On other days, ten or twelve women participate while a Broncos game plays on a giant screen on the gym stage. We’re told that the DVDs we left the week before are actually blank when they’re put in the prison’s DVD players. None of us (except Lucy!) can seem to shimmy.

Yet, everyone keeps dancing.

There are days when the guards at the front desk (where we get our badges and special carry-on-your-wrist-emergency-alarms) can’t find our guest volunteer names on the “ok to enter” list. It’s frustrating. Embarrassing. After dedicating a Sunday to travel to Denver and bring their joy of dance to the women in the prison, these volunteers have to wait in the prison lobby. Those days, these lyrics from Beauty in the World resonate:

Heya throw your hands up and holla

Throw your hands up and holla

When you don’t know what to do

Don’t know if you’ll make it through

But then other days, guards and lieutenants wait for us at the front door. They wave when we come in, saying, “The dance ladies are here. Dance 2B Free is here.” When this happens, these lines from Beauty in the World speak loudest:

So baby, in between

Notice the blue skies

Notice the butterflies

Notice me

Stop and smell the flowers

And lose it in sweet music

And dance with me

And then…there was last Sunday. Better than ever expected and at the same time, not a surprise at all. It was a day that revealed once again why Dance 2B Free is magical. It was truly a Beauty in The World day, a “pick your diamond pick your pearl there is beauty in the world” day.

We’d been (gently) nagging the DWCF administration about this day for months. A day we’d been hoping for, giving up on, crossing our fingers about—and then uncrossing them when another barrier appeared.

But it happened last Sunday: an approved visit by a reporter from the, “Boulder Daily Camera,”Aimee Heckel, and a photojournalist, Cliff Grassmick. Aimee couldn’t bring her phone or any recording device into the prison, yet as she spoke to nearly half of the twenty-five women who came to dance, she wrote all of their remarks in her notepad—while still maintaining eye contact! She interviewed the guards in the same eager, deep-listening manner. As we danced, Aimee sat and watched, writing even more. Cliff took a remarkably large number of photos and filmed video. Though he wasn’t dancing, he didn’t stop moving around the gym, capturing the women at different angles. Our hands and feet. Our faces. All together now, as we danced.

Good things keep happening for Dance 2B Free. I think we were doubly blessed last Sunday—with fluid, smiling, beautiful dancing and a soon-to-be-published newspaper article.

Yes, publicity for a grassroots non-profit might be a minor splendor in the scope of beautiful things happening in the world. And this publicity is certainly a special privilege in a world where many not-so-beautiful things are happening.

But the newspaper article, photos and video will, I believe, make what D2BF has been shaping since July even more beautifully captivating. More people will see, in a real, colorful and personal way, that there is always so much is beauty in the world that can arise from dancing.