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There was a moment when their faces blossomed into the sweetest happiness, however – when everything came together in a single lovely communion that was the reason they all did what they did: and that occurred about six-thirty in the morning, when they took off their sweat-soaked T-shirts and screamed because Patti Jo had begun to sing:

‘Make me believe in you, show me that love can be true’.

(Andrew Halloran: Dancer From The Dance)

 

The stale stench of poppers wrapped around those few imploring vocals.  People holding each other up in those first, precious shafts of daylight, the high drama of Patti Jo given the Tom Moulton treatment; dancers who have given everything barely able to stand any more, but blessing the weather anyway with shattered limbs; determined to stand, and somehow standing even though others are crumpled, folded into the compassionate embrace of the corner, the floor, a sofa;  the air pungent with sweat and ethyl chloride and something else besides.

Can we call it love?

That instant just before  the light, when eyelids are still made of salt and all things are possible.  Before shape or mastery, and their inherent smallness, overwhelm bodies and minds ‘in motion’.  That split-second of not-even abandon but pure unalloyed ecstasy – yes, let’s call it love – when nothing is shackled.  ‘No Blacks. No Jews and No Gays.

Actually, nothing.

Writhing, then exhausted.  Spent.  The body just a physical perimeter, another consciousness in play, insisting that the dance goes on even as the sting enters the eyes and daylight invades the loft.

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