M is for Montgomery County Community College and the Lively Arts Program, Blue Bell, PA. For more than 25 years, MCCC has brought dance, jazz, and classical music, and theater to Montgomery County. It is a place of creative expression, and creative energy.
On April 13, 2013, Stratoz and I went to MCCC see the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, Indian Classical Dance, presented in partnership with Sruti: The India Music & Dance Society, Philadelphia. I had not heard of this dance tradition, and it was a delight to discover.
“I dream of building a community of dancers in a forsaken place amidst nature.
A place where nothing exists, except dance.
A place where you breathe, eat, sleep, dream, talk, imagine – dance.
A place where all the five senses can be refined to perfection.
A place where dancers drop negative qualities such as jealousy, small-mindedness,
greed and malice to embrace their colleagues as sisters
and support each other in their journey towards becoming dancers of merit.”
“A place called Nrityagram.”
– Protima Gauri (October 12,1948 – August 18, 1998)
I am grateful for all the beauty I have witnessed at Montgomery County Community College.
In 2012, I had the opportunity to hear Kurt Elling perform there,
and I leave you with this hopeful and haunting tune.
Music by Duke Ellington
Original Lyric by Mitchell Parrish
Vocalese Lyric by Kurt Elling based on Von Freeman’s improvised melody from
Freeman’s 2001 recording, “The Improvisor”.
The lyric adapts the words of the 13th century poet Jelaluddin Balkhi,
or Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks.
Don’t worry about saving this music / or be scared if the singing ends
or the piano breaks a string / for we have fallen to a place where everything is
music and singing / everything is recovered and new / ever new and musical
and even if the whole world’s harp should burn up / there would still be hidden there
the spirit of song there to linger on / and even if a candle’s blown out by wind
the fire smolders on in an ember and then sparks again / the singing is a drop /
just a drop in oceans of seas / grace keeps it moving through bodies like these. . .