civilian defenses is a poem about salsa-dancing as a defense against the extreme highs and lows of life; an anchor, especially for private citizens within a large, urban society.
Most times, salsa is danced for merely recreation, exercise and socialization.
When things are either too much or too little in one’s life or in one’s city or country, why in the world would one stop to dance salsa? How can salsa be a civilian defense? And against what?
If you are too passionate, too angry, too desperate or too high in whatever way, salsa can refocus you and your energy into a very specific time, place and activity. The real risk of physically turning you and your partner into a hot mess keeps you at attention.
If you are too low, too sad or too numb from whatever you are going through, salsa warms the blood, forces breath into our most held breath and gets the eyes blinking again.
Either way, salsa reconnects the body and mind to some other part of the world outside of ourselves and is a reminder, when we need that reminder, that we are vitally alive and not alone.
It is a peculiar thing that human recreations (ie. jazz, blues, baseball, boxing) have often been strengthened during difficult times in human history. It is a peculiar thing to witness humans reach for sport or the arts when they feel they have little else to reach for.
… an interesting observation that started this poem for me several years ago. Please check out the below poem, stirred up with a little colour and sound, in a little video on Youtube.
(P.S. the text displays best using the HD setting in Youtube):
*dance art painting c/o Andres Giraldo at salsaycontrol.com