Dance has long been the way in which we shed energy and release emotion, finding delight in the rhythms of our bodies. Arab folk dancing has many different styles, and there's a long history that goes beyond just belly-dancing. It's performed during births or festivals, civil celebrations and weddings.
When writing the poem, "Ode to Dance," I wanted to give a formal address to the movements we make, and all the ways it can be expressed. Whether it's "MJ sliding in front of a spotted mirror," or "in a battered boat that waltzed / with the waves," this call to motion can leap us in many directions. It is an instrument we warm ourselves with, a showcasing of the fragility of a body, the body as a natural verb. The passion and vulnerability of dance can connect us in a way that helps divert the complicated social and political barriers placed to restrict voice. (click on image for clearer view)
* * *Threa Almontaser is a Yemeni-American writer, translator, and multimedia artist from New York City. She received her MFA from North Carolina State University and is the recipient of fellowships from Tin House, Community of Writers, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Kerouac House. She is the winner of Alternating Current's Unsilenced Grant for Muslim American Women Writers and Tinderbox Journal's Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Prize, among other honors. Nominated or included in the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net, her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming from Random House, The Offing, American Literary Review, Adroit, Wildness, Frontier, Oxford Review, and elsewhere. Threa writes on the thin membrane that separates human from what we loosely call animal, and believes writing should not only entertain, but provoke. She teaches English to immigrants and refugees in Raleigh while co-organizing a reading and discussion series in the area which promotes the work of undocumented poets and poets of color, raising consciousness about the structural barriers that they face in the literary community. She is currently at work on several projects, including a debut poetry collection and her first novel. For more, please visit threawrites.com.
Read Threa Almontaser's poem and other works