the green mill

93390022

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I went into a "Prophecy Room" in Kansas City once, when I was eighteen or nineteen.  There are several other people in a room with you--those waiting to hear and those waiting to tell. I sat in a chair and waited, listening to the quiet whispers of the others around me being told their prophecies. Finally a young woman came up to me and handed me a drawing of a young girl sitting under a tree with a Bible verse draping over and around and through the image. She spoke to me of all that she was feeling about my energy and said that she felt I held a lot of creativity and that she felt as though there was something in my movements, in dance perhaps, that was particularly meaningful. She got up and went to the other side of the room and I brushed her comments off--I was not a dancer. I barely bobbed my head a long at any concert I had ever been to and my arms were always folded. Even in private, there was no fluidity to my movements.

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Two more people came up to me in that room. A man and another woman and both had expressed the same feelings--that I was a dancer and that there was joy in that expression. I cynically left the room and forgot about what was said to me.

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Several years later, I met a few people that really, really loved to dance and were always encouraging me to dance with them. I would sway sometimes. Sometimes kick my feet out awkwardly or throw my hands in all directions, trying to find the coordination I'd so long suppressed. Months of these unsynchronized movements went by and slowly, I was beginning to find the beat and beginning to shed all of that self-consciousness that hinders one from dancing. I started to understand it.

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I went to the Green Mill in Chicago one night with a friend, we were celebrating and love the jazzy ambiance of the club. When we arrived, the dance floor in front of the jazz band was empty sparing a few couples that were clearly regulars--they were all dressed in their finest vintage garb and danced in a style that clearly involved practice. Every once and a while, a couple from the crowd would step up to join in some boozy fun but after a few moments, they would break into embarrassed laughter and walk by to their seats.  That nineteen year old girl would have sat at the bar and would have never even thought of joining in. But we did join. We walked right up and danced and didn't stop for the entire night. And the more we danced, the more others began to fill the floor alongside us. By the end of the night, the entire floor was covered and people were coming up and thanking us. The band thanked us. The bartenders thanked us.

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This night at the Green Mill surely wasn't what the prophets in that room were alluding to, but made me think that maybe they were on to something. Maybe they weren't even really talking about dance, rather the person I would be once I found that freedom. Maybe they didn't even know what they were talking about. 

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