~ William Carlos Williams
In Breughel's great picture, The Kermess,
the dancers go round, they go round and
around, the squeal and the blare and the
tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles
tipping their bellies, (round as the thick-
sided glasses whose wash they impound)
their hips and their bellies off balance
to turn them. Kicking and rolling about
the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those
shanks must be sound to bear up under such
rollicking measures, prance as they dance
in Breughel's great picture, The Kermess.
Today is the day we have been anticipating all week. The Year 4 girls and boys have to participate in partnered dances with each other. "Charly has to dance with a boy today." Titter, giggle. Charly's nose wrinkles. I can see this is going to be the focus of her day. They have to pair off themselves so this is adding to the nervous tension. She does not want to dance with anyone. "Aren't there any nice boys in Year 4?", I enquire of Little Wanna, already an authority on the who's who of the school yard from her innocent vantage point in kindergarten. "NO!", comes the frank and assertive reply. Ro-Ro has safely decided not to wade into this commentary. However, there is general agreement that this will be an awful experience for every-one concerned.
Ah yes, I remember folk dancing and square dancing in the quadrangle at Berserker Street State School and squirming at the thought of holding hands with boys. But trends have moved on, and now it's hip hop and ballroom. Good luck Charly... in more ways than one.
Image: The Kermesse of St George, 1628, by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. In Private Collection