The dance

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Women of the Dassenech Tribe, Omo Valley of Ethiopia

For Giovanni swirling and singing O Sole Mio under a pouring sky at the end of April 25 (Liberation day from the fascists) rally in Milano.
For Peter who took me to Nottinghill Carnival hoping I would dance in the streets, not get lost and, perhaps smile. Occasionally. Just that one time would have been enough.
For the Masai who told me I just had to jump. Upwards, better.
For Antonio who kept patting the sweat off his forehead because I could not dance to a valzer and preferred the chair of a cheap Italian restaurant, in a neon-lit night, surrounded by bottles of Martinis. Not mine.
For Mamoon’s mother who tried to teach me a Yemeni dance on a Friday afternoon while we were chewing qat, while I stumbled in my abaya, barefeet, feeling oversize, graceless, praying for the embarassment to end soon.
For Madam Suher on the river Nile who thought mellow waters and more wine would convert me into a belly dancer. Or a far less shy person.
For Saeed who thought we could be best dancers ever in Rub Al Khali desert. Camels our witnesses, sand on our feet, sweaty hands intertwined, my body filled with antihisthamine.
For the guy in a dive bar in Lalibela holding the microphone who underlined publicly I was terribly ugly, but still wanted to dance, microphone off.
For Dominga, 75, who told me ‘un paseo, una discoteca’ (a stroll and a disco) might find me a husband.

For all the times I ran away from streets, people, concerts, aerobic classes, frantic moshing and dancefloors: it just was not the right moment.
In the meantime, women of Dassenech tribe are dancing, inviting me to join.
This could be the right moment.

(Omo Valley, Ethiopia)

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