July 10, 2009

The addiction dance

Addiction is a powerful thing. I don't think anyone could deny that, yet I do believe that most people don't realize that we're all, each and every one of us, susceptible to it. It's so very obvious in the form of compulsive, physical craving for drugs, alcohol, child porn, or even caffeine. But how often do we explore its less obvious forms?

My own strongest addictions take the forms of the intarwebs and driving fast. Like many other folks out there, I see the 'net for the time-suck that it is. And yet, there's just so much out there to explore, so many people from all over the world to converse with at almost any time of the day. With every new social networking site, every new message board or blog, I give more of myself and my time to it. Like a junkie I sit, jumping from tab to tab, refreshing pages, looking for that next fix, all the while knowing that I need to get my ass away from the computer to do housework, or sleep, or get ready for work, or just plain get outside.

Driving, on the other hand, has a tremendously narcotic effect, which I've described before. There's been many a day I've sat at my desk at work, or stuck in rush hour traffic, when I've found myself almost literally aching to be on some back road in West Va, swooping around curves and flying along straightaways. I had enough accidents in my younger years to fully realize the potential dangers of this craving, but I can't fight the excitement that arises when I picture my favorite roads under a sunny blue sky and I know I'll continue to indulge as often as I can.

I wish I could say that I'm addicted to physical movement, but what I have is really more of a deep appreciation that's easily overwhelmed by an apparently stronger appreciation of sloth. But I've always loved movement. Ballet class at 5 years old, a month on the middle-school track & field team, short-lived dance classes again in my teens, cycling, martial arts, vinyasa yoga... The flow of movement is both soothing and invigorating.

That deep appreciation that stops just shy of compulsion is what's behind an annual addiction to which I've succumbed: the reality/contest tv show, So You Think You Can Dance. Most people I know have gotten hooked on SYTYCD's elder sibling, American Idol, which I've never watched. But I happened to channel surf past SYTYCD a few seasons ago and stopped to check it out. One episode was all it took, and now I plan my weeknights in July and August around its air-times. And, yippee!, it'll now grow to a bi-annual addiction, as they're adding a second season later this year.

The show has all the elements of every other reality/contest show: Beautiful young hopefuls who put their heart and soul into claiming the title of "America's Top Dancer", and a suitably sympathetic, magnificently appareled emcee who shepherds them past a panel of sometimes annoying, yet always quirky judges. But it's also intentionally being used as a platform to introduce the viewing public to the art of dance. They've included expected styles such as jazz, hip-hop, and tango, but also surprises such as paso doble, Bollywood, and Russian folk dancing. And each season contains at least one performance that is flat-out, amazingly impressive, technically fantastic yet also emotionally moving. This week's episode included one of those sequences, the addiction dance...



Choreographed by Mia Michaels and performed by Kupono Awaeu and Kayla Radomski
, this routine is a perfect example of just what makes dance an art. Purely through movement and expression, these two young dancers tell a story that so many of us can identify with, if we've looked deeply enough into our selves, or into the souls of those around us. From the first moment that Kayla runs to him and he wraps his arm around her, Kupono incredibly embodies the way that addiction controls us. She's drawn to him, and he in return man-handles her, plays the puppet master, tossing her around, taunting and stifling her, soothing then throttling her, all with a chillingly dispassionate expression on his face. And when she desperately tries to break free, to reach up and away from her craving, he grabs hold and shows her, with condescending ease, just how much stronger he is. Malevolent, one of the judges called Kupono's performance, and that's exactly what addiction is, in all its forms.

I'm addicted to this dance.

4 comments:

Zen said...

pie affects me similarly

The Crow said...

You are so right in your description of addiction being a dance. Good post to read at this stage of my life.

human being said...

really loved the way you treat a subject... starting from general to particular... to your own experiences... detailed descriptions... all help us visulalize the situation... think more clearly...

i've seen a few parts of this show... 'So you think you can dance'... i admit that it tells its story very well.. we just don't have the dance we have all those talks behind the scene... and the reactions of parents or friends and the jury... all this help us to empathize...



think the most important thing in addiction is to understand it's a kind of compensation... if we can dig deep and find what it compensate for, we can get rid of it...

two things i'm really addicted to are writing and walking... without them i really get sick...

what do they compensate for?
should we get rid of all our addictions?
isn't life an addiction too?
everything can be... when it is done just out of an impulse...

think when we know why we are doing it, we are not an addict anymore... and we do it guilt-free... and can control it... even can grow with it...

think you are mostly aware of what you are doing so don't feel guilty much... more analysis (and you've got a brilliant analytical mind) perhaps can help to spend less time on these and more on outside activities...

but again Kali... we may not be able to escape this virtual world completley... because some wrong traits and interactions in the real world have led people to find solace in here... perhaps we want to get rid of all this physicality and become more mind and soul...

think if we found such atmosphere in real world, we would choose to be there...


enjoyed reading you, as always...

love and peace to you

KaliDurga said...

Zen- I can think of worse addictions than pie. Unless, of course, one is also addicted to sloth. Then pie would be insidious.

Martha- May all your addictions revert to fascinations or, at most, infatuations.

hb- I'm so happy to hear from you!

As always, you raise some interesting points. But can things as basic as walking and communication really be classified as addictions? When the results are so beneficial, it should be considered a necessity.

The idea of exploring an addiction and growing through it is intriguing, but requires an awareness that many seem to lack. Which is what makes them susceptible to begin with, of course. But for those who can step back enough to look at themselves and their cravings... the process could be empowering.

As for the virtual world, it also has its benefits-- being able to reach out beyond our own locality to connect with others far away is a gift that balances the debt of time and attention the internet requires. So again, addiction or necessity? It's a fine line.

Namaste, my friend. I continue to wish the best for you and your country.