Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


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The Root of Why

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I’m certain that many of you see this type of thing all the time but it’s a rare phenomenon for me. I’m talking about a personality that is so stunning that it calls to mind the days when I believed in magical stuff.

The incident happened when it was my turn to take my son Solomon to his ballet rehearsal. This year he’s fortunate enough to be a Mountie in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. He’s especially thrilled that he gets to be so close to the professional ballet dancers that he can almost touch them.

It’s a great experience for me as well because I get to see “dance” people up close. I see the dancers, their understudies, their students, their fledglings, the parents of, etc. I find many pronounced attributes about this culture but the most fascinating is something I can only describe as “energy face.”

I’ve seen various potencies of this face at the studio but one particular person really stood out. She was standing quietly, waiting for the elevator. There was what felt like a roaring blaze of kindness around her face. Being an outspoken American, I blurted out, “Wow, you have a such a great face!” Suddenly the aura around her face lit up, as though someone turned the energy knob from 3.5 to 7! As she looked up, a spark of vibrancy swept the room. Her “Thank you!” planted on me like a punch. Then she disappeared into the elevator.

The face of the dancer was instructive to me. I’m certain that she acquired this ability from projecting her spirt into the wordless art form of dance. Through her face she was capable of expressing emotion and projecting it to the back of an auditorium.

It must be great to live and work around people like this—at least when the overarching emotion being projected is patient kindness. I realize the opposite is also a possibility. Think about the demon dementors in Harry Potter. Those guys project a feeling too, and it just shuts everybody down. A milder form is the false kindness that seems to be more and more common in the world we’re leaning toward. When kindness becomes a political tool, not a way of being—this can be exhausting.

I was fed by the glow from the dancer, and that was powerful too. This doesn’t happen often in the world but it happens! A greeting from a receptionist or sincerity in small talk with a stranger can be energizing. Extra care and thoughtfulness from a co-worker can be uplifting. We have the power to raise one another up.

In the jazz world I am energized by the content of what another musician plays. I am touched particularly by “why” something is played. If you’re just showing off how smart and talented you are, energy is pulled out of the room. If you are sharing a beautiful secret that you’ve discovered, everyone in the room is lifted up. We all get to feel the aura and share in turning up the energy knob!

Music can be a window to the soul. Come join us in the new year as we do some soul searching together at the Wednesday Night Hang!


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