December 5, 2010

Latke Dance

Last night my cousin Diana hosted her annual Chanukah party and at the height of the evening we had worked ourselves into a silly dance frenzy. The evening has several traditions developed over the years - lighting the candles, saying the prayers, reading a passage from the Buddhist Eight Fold Path, veggie/vegan potluck, latkes, answering a thoughtful question posed by Diana (who is a Matriarch you admire, and why?), grab bag gift exchange, and dancing. Added this year was a game of dreidel, which was surprisingly enthralling.

Eileen, Diana's housemate, created a CD of Chanukah music for part of her grab bag gift. It was a fantastic mix of modern songs, many of which were quite danceable. We created our own little dance club in the living room and got jiggy with Chanukah cheer. The best song was about making latkes and I spontaneously created a dance that involved all the steps in making latkes, applesauce, serving and clearing the dishes and washing the plates. While I was dancing everyone sat down on the couches that surrounded the dance space and began egging me on. Being a true extrovert, I eventually had a groove going with scooping the latke mixture into the frying pan, shaking the plan, flipping it to make the latkes over in the air (I can do that in real life), removing each latke with a spatella onto a plate and then placing the plate in the oven to stay warm, closing the oven door with a swoosh of my hip. All of this while my feet were dancing, hips and shoulders swaying to the music. It must have been quite a show because everyone asked me to do it all again as we replayed the song.

What I liked best was that I felt free to express myself with movement. Dancing and cooking and smiling felt so good. When I think about the times I have feel the most happy, it is when I am dancing and cooking - in a groove, surrounded by great friends.