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Teaching a Child to Dance

Move with the music but as if through water with knees bent imperceptively, just barely, for grace. Move your arms in joy and let your fingers float, following wrists as if through waters that flow. Let your hand trace a moon rise; let your fingers harvest grapes while we glide forward walking like queens. Bend slightly, move sprightly with a springing step in rhythms of the heart beat with Anahid and Naneh guiding your feet. Move your hands through the waters of Arax, palms down, then palms up Move with small glides, magnificent child, gift of waters and light. And if you wave a kerchief wave it leaning back smiling as if greeting hello and good-bye. Look over your left shoulder I am beside you. And over my left shoulder my grandmother and hers. They walk like shy Christian brides but behind them marching their pagan mothers parading with shields. Look toward your right shoulder and into your future where a mother-in-law smiles beckoning you into a life to be. The Armenian dance is a dance of women, friends in a circle that opens and closes and never ends.

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