Who is Your Inner Dancer?: Jordan Matter’s Dancers Among Us

29 Aug

One of my favorite gifts I received was a book called Dancers among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday by Jordan Matter. It was a non-special occasion gift – in fact it was a just because gift – and I feel that even this fact adds meaning to how I interpret the book.

Jordan Matter said it best in the first page, “A book made to make you dream. A book to take your breath away. A book not just for the dancers among us, but for the dancer inside each of us.”

Upon first glance it is clear that this is a photography book capturing nuances of dancers doing everyday things in extraordinary ways. But upon deeper reflection, it’s evident that it is not only so.

Delving straight into the book, my favorite chapters are “exploring”, “grieving” and “working,” life’s anthems. Within these chapters are some of my favorite photographic moments. Some of the titles of said chapters, such as “craving”, “transfer”, and “work boots” are only a glimpse into a “dancey” way that one’s everyday life can seem like a dance. But what do these glimpses REALLY show.

Everyone has heard – or so norm dictates – that “A picture is worth 1,000 words” but what does that mean? Being the stickler that I am, I love answering a question with another question. So … what is dance to you?

What I love about this book is that it actually creates the situations and captures images of dance in everyday movement. Just as seen on the chapter “working” with a picture titled “transfer”. I’m sure everyone can relate to rushing to catch that one train. And even if you don’t call yourself a dancer, in that moment you are. In that moment you can feel exactly what that picture is emoting. Dashing and grooving your way past the thick 7 am crowd of people who have great mornings and made their coffee at home while skipping and whistling their way to the train station – yeah, those people.

That’s why I love this book. It’s exactly that, a celebration of joy in the everyday illustrated to us through dancers among us.

But what makes a dancer? And what is dance? The dictionary defines it as “a series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music”. So getting to work, doing the laundry, crunching those numbers, going for that coffee run is a dance. We are all dancing our way through life.

We are all extraordinary – mothers, fathers, husbands, business partners – going through life the best way we can. Trying to break that habit, trying to catch that train. That’s what I find so great about this book. It’s not all pictures of course, there are some stories behind certain photos and we even get a glimpse into the creative process and not just the beautiful outcome. Which is a lot like life. Everything is in some way, shape or form a dance: parenthood, loneliness, depression, happiness, anxiety, and loss. We dance our way through what we feel, through where we are and who or what we are. We are all dancers. And even in the midst of the ugly, of the terrible and unrecognizable moments, there is always beauty living amongst it.

Written by:
Sherissa Hernandez
Adult Programming Assistant

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