Once upon a Dance


T
his shot I captured a few hours ago when the lights went out turning me nostalgic to university days and an analysis of a play offered by one of my favorite professors whom I still hold in great respect.

I recalled the very famous Tarantella dance scene in the play “A Doll’s House”, by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, that marked the climax of the plot and brought a moment of self-enlightenment for Nora, a central character in the play.

The play basically criticizes the 19th century marriage behavior in Europe and many other issues all related to gender inequality and male domination.

What makes this play and the dance part so memorable and vivid after so many years is the light notion that was used to reveal facts and mark moments of life-alteration Nora captured to revolt against her husband’s domination yet lack of love as well as her submissive nature that had always invited him to abuse her endlessly…

Light brought Nora to a moment of self-realization and illustrated her own personal growth the need of which had been overlooked for so many years, and it was greatly magnified by the contrasting darkness that shadowed that tense night.

The night that witnessed the Tarantella dance, also witnessed Nora’s rebirth. Although the dance, taught to Nora by Trovald, her husband, symbolizing his physical domination over her and indirectly representing his overall influence over her, has tired her so very much physically, it brought a long awaited cure to her aches.

The dance triggered Nora’s revolt against what she had to accept throughout her marriage years, reaching a moment where she cannot take it any longer.

Before that night, Nora, in her own words, had always been merry but never happy.

It was on that very special night, that Nora danced the Tarantella, when she decided to put an end to her submissiveness and terminate her commitment to a husband who may be desires her but never really loved her. It’s on that night, following a dance that worn Nora, physically, out, that she saw the light for the first time, a turning point it was.

It was the effort she exerted during the dance, coupled with the light that was asserted by the surrounding darkness, that brought Nora in momentous and unprecedented confrontation with herself, marking a well- needed turning point in her life.

I’ve always remembered this play for the intrinsic dilemma it carries in the form of Nora’s inner conflict.

It’s in one scene that’s so dear to me that Nora, enraged by the culmination of the conflict dominating throughout the play, insists on getting herself out of the mirage she’s been living in, bringing, by her own hands, a lamp into the room, to lighten up the darkness that’s been covering her surrounding and, most importantly, to see through herself.

That memorable moment  was asserted by Nora getting out of the room, from the last scene in the play, and symbolically from her delusional world, slamming the door behind her, marking an intent will not to go back to where she willfully suffered for years.

I’ve always experienced similar moments and usually they were during the night. I wonder why?

Is it because night marks the end of one day and the beginning of another? Which makes it the perfect timing for reflection and pondering over how one’s life is going? It surely brings hope as much as it brings anticipation of what’s awaiting the life ahead- what’s inscribed by the Almighty …

Also I’ve always felt evident rejuvenation and clear thinking after exerting too much physical effort. Probably that’s because the mind gets so much consumed in the physical effort one exerts, clearing it of any remnants of negative thinking it might have been trapped in before…

Raising a flag of “taking it no more” from time to time had always brought well-timed decision to put right what had been going wrong for times. It’s usually those moments that I appreciate most in my life as they make me feel alive, become elevated from a state of being just human to that of a free soul hovering in space, regardless of how quirky I may seem.

It’s during such moments that I feel enlightened, much like Nora was on that Dancing night.

Not sure if most of you came across this play before, but regardless, I thought of sharing some very personal reflections related to a play I hold dear to my heart, and the memories of which where triggered by that night the lights went out.

Maha.

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