Dancing the Charleston, listening to Louis Armstrong, and roaming around the city in twilight is the way I want my Saturday nights. Jazz is something I need in my life. The seductive curve and shine of saxophones and trumpets, passion pouring out of them. The joyful dances, stepping along with wholehearted vivacity. The books of the Jazz Age, girls with red red lips. Someone take me back to the 1920s! So when the Helsinki Traditional Jazz Company put on a show last night, I was so there. Time to put on my dancing shoes and jazz it up!
With a suitably jazzy accomplice and clad in my big black flea market coat, I hit the streets of Helsinki at dusk. For the first time in days the world outside wasn’t gray and damp, and consequently the freshness and clear skies looked more beautiful than ever. I can see why they call dawn and dusk ‘romantic’. All the lilacs, pinks, and violet hues blanketing the city do soften the corners of the world and do inspire you to stand still in the middle of the road to breathe it all in. Never mind almost getting hit by a car. All in the name of a romantic soul.
This was already a good start to a stupendous night. Slowly, people of all origins filled the seats of an obscure old fashioned theatre. The outfits they donned were a show in themselves. Bonnets, short wavy hairstyles. Pearls, and flapper dresses, and men in suits and bow ties. For one night, we seemed to be transported back to the Jazz Age with reality outside the theatre quickly fading away into the rhythm and swing of the band. For the first couple hours we were captivated by the songs and the dances performed. Just saying, watching a live show of tap dance, lindy hop, and the charleston is so much better than watching the telly.
Late into the night, the seats were moved aside to reveal a dance floor for the audience. It’s funny how the more I danced – i.e. attempted to move my limbs in time without looking like an awkward goose – the more energy I gained to do it. The soul in the music, the togetherness of all the people on the dance floor, and the complete release of movement all breathe life into you.
Needless to say we danced our way back home through the night, wishing life was a musical and no one looked at us like we’re mental when we break into song and dance in the middle of the street. I’m still floating from last night. Indeed, jazz blurs the gray lines of reality. Jazz is friends, jazz is a good time. Jazz is alive.
Life is a lot like jazz… It’s best when you improvise. – George Gershwin