Lovers: They love most things. From left is Emily Kingan, Kerby Ferris, and Carolyn Berk. Photo via CMJ.
Never was a band so perfectly named as Lovers. As we talked over coffee last week about their new album, A Friend in the World, and upcoming national tour, a fan from England who happened to overhear the coffeeshop conversation stopped by the table to warmly great the artists. That's typical for the Portland electro-pop trio, who compare their performances as community celebrations akin to weddings and say they're far too sincere and loving to be a "cool" band.
Isadora Duncan might be the most famous dancer you've never seen dance. Often referred to as the "Mother of Modern Dance," she was a self-made and intensely driven, confident woman who saw personal freedoms, expression, justice, and dance as essentially intertwined. Isadora once said, "For me the dance is not only the art that gives expression through the human soul through movement, but also the foundation of a complete conception of life, more free, more harmonious, more natural."
But the dancefloor has always done it for me. Doesn't matter much what kind of music. In my days as a spookyweird kid in New Orleans it was goth night and punk shows, doing the cobweb-pull (goth inside joke) or slamming into other bodies in the pit, wearing my bruises as a badge of honor. I'm mostly too old (or fragile!) for that at punk shows now but at age 30 still got myself a tattoo as a reminder, paraphrasing Emma Goldman's famous, possibly-apocryphal line "It's not my revolution if I can't dance to it."
I think we in the US get that notion confused in our exploitative, mushily erotic society, where every touch is perceived as sexually charged yet suspect–due to, among other influences, homophobia, soap operas, rom-coms, romance novels, porn, puritanism, rape culture, and music videos–that some folks fail to understand the in-between physical contact, which is where quite a bit of partner dancing rests, especially if someone is learning how to dance in a duo for the first time in a studio setting.
Most people, regardless of gender, are born with 206 bones. Experts say human beings have between 640 and 850 muscles (they’re so difficult to count, a precise tally is impossible). Boy, girl, and in-between, we all share the same number of eyes, appendages, nerve endings. We have the same instincts—if we touch a hot stove, we pull away; if something is thrown unexpectedly at us, we duck.