Here and now

If you're on a dance floor and you're not dancing, you're in the way. (me)

It was a great night at the Red Room. German DJ Shantel had brought his Balkan-flavoured dance music to the club. Sweetie and I love to dance to world beat music, and Balkan is one of our favourite styles, along with Arabic, North African, and South Asian.

When I arrived shortly after 9, Lady Ra was spinning her excellent mix. I love dancing to Lady Ra, and she doesn't appear very often (at least that I know of, and I try to keep up). Sweetie was late arriving from dinner, so by the time she arrived, the set was almost over.

Next up was a belly dancer named Rahel. Rahel is an excellent dancer. She is lean for a belly dancer, but she makes up for that with her sinuous and sensual movements. We have seen belly dancers at the Red Room before. Rahel last night was one of the best.

Sigh. Somewhere in the multiverse, I am a young, pretty belly dancer with sinuous movements.

Here's what happened though. When a belly dancer performs, we all sit or stand around the edge of the dance floor. But last night, this videographer plopped a short tripod onto the floor. Uh, kinda in the way, dude. In my sight line at the very least. Another was shooting from a better location. And others were shooting as well on their various video recording devices.

At least one of the guys with the tripod was probably shooting video for Rahel. She has video recordings on her website. I get that. I'd rather that one guy not have put himself in the way and even inched forward as the performance went on, but eventually we moved to get a better view. But the people spending the whole time making video for themselves? I took a few shots for this blog. While I was doing so, I was totally out of watching the performance. I was no longer in the moment.

Video and photos don't capture a moment. They show you what you missed because you were too busy recording. And you will always have missed it.

I got back to watching quickly enough, but I really wonder about this inability simply to watch a live performance. I see it at lots of shows. I mean, if you don't feel like you are missing anything, then you don't. And if it's really more important for you to have a record of something than actually to watch it, then you do. But what a loss! There is nothing that compares to the impact of a live performance. Memories are in my head, not encoded on digital video. There are so many events in my life for which I don't have even photographs, never mind video, but I still remember them vividly, perhaps even more so because memories are all I have.

After Rahel was finished, DJ Shantel came on. His Balkan-influenced mix was wonderful! I had been having fun dancing to Lady Ra, but Shantel really put me in high gear. And there were a lot of dancers on the small floor. But there were also people standing and watching the DJ, maybe moving a little but not dancing. Yo, he's a DJ! He plays music to dance to! There's even less to watch than when you're seeing a band! But still, there were people with their eyes glued on the stage. And at least one person shooting scintillating video of a DJ spinning records.

And being in the way.

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