The Nederlands Dans Theater was in Perpignan, and we were invited to attend their contemporary dance performance. When the night of the show arrived, I was amazed at the stunning, confident, and smooth dancers who graced the stage from all around the world.

I was deep into the show when the dancers lined up across the stage and filed into the audience. I sat calmly in my stadium seat, holding my purse on my knees. Two dancers came up the aisle toward our group, and I looked down in order to draw less attention to myself. Then, a hand appeared in front of me. I looked up and saw a tall, lean, red-headed young man. I took his hand, and he escorted me to the stage.

We stood face-to-face under the lights. Beads of sweat lined his freckles. He extended his hand, and we danced.

His facial expressions were animated, but real. He made extreme eye contact with me, possibly in an effort to develop trust. I had to depend on him for my next cue, and he had to depend on me to interact with him for the show.

We twirled and jetted across the stage. Then, all of a sudden, he began to lift me off the ground! At first, I tried to stop him, just as I usually do when a country dancing partner tries the same tactic back in Montana. However, this time I was on a stage in Perpignan, France, and this contemporary dancer was not going to be dissuaded. So into the air I went, and it wasn’t so bad. Actually, it was exhilarating.

At the end of the dance, he said “Merci beaucoup,” and I automatically replied “Merci.” I didn’t know his name, his country, his native language, or even why he asked me to join him on stage, but all I needed to know was the trust in his glance. We spoke a universal language… that of dance… and that was all we needed.

Watch video of dance (Courtesy of Christine Tjandra)