How to do the fish dance

Clarkesworld Magazine – Science Fiction & Fantasy

Falling. Rebecca and I are falling. My daughter and I—so high it seems impossible that we could survive. We are in the back seat of a taxi that has somehow unhitched from its arcing track between the skyscrapers.

Theory 1: Your last thought is your least important. It is a dead-end wisp that will vanish in an instant, with no effect on anything. Theory 2: Your last thought is the secret culmination of your life, potentially altering the significance of everything that came before. You might affirm it all, regret it all, have that final moment of redemptive insight. Theory 3: Your last thought is an opportunity—your one chance to undergo an intriguing death experience, maybe an overdose of an amazing drug, maybe the feeling of surrendering to the sea in a storm against the cliffs.

The wind mounted as we fell, whistling fearfully through the door frame. Rebecca floated, eyes closed—angelic? mermaidine?—left hand pressed against the dashboard, a dancer mid-air, school uniform and black hair billowing. Her right hand brushed the taxi’s soft inter-Face, which wore an expression I had never before seen in an AI. Could a taxi know enough to fear death?

I wanted to reach toward Rebecca, hold her, make my last thought a thought for her. She was drifting toward me, her book bag elevating off her lap as her legs straightened. But my arms would not respond. I looked down at them, and they seemed foreign objects. Instead of love, I thought, my final thought would be that my final thought would be of final thoughts instead of love.

I woke sweetly relaxed, tingly in the head, vacant elsewhere. I opened and closed my mouth, shaping a groan. It seemed somehow the perfect groan, with a new interesting harmony from my chest cavity. The worried nurse who entered my field of view was the perfect nurse. Then came the perfect CEO of St. Vincent’s Northeast, some perfect lawyers, my wife Sara with my perfect teenage son Abe—a team of angels drifting through honey!

“R-?” I had overestimated the power of gravity, so maybe she was here too?

Sara paused, then looked toward the blank wall to her right, maybe flinching away from me a little—but beautiful, how the hospital lights brightened her cheeks!—then she slightly shook her head. “No.”

Abe wouldn’t look at me either. His face was swollen, tense, tear-glazed.

The expected sadness didn’t arrive. My guts didn’t twist, my stomach didn’t sicken, my throat didn’t ache. Instead I thought: No adulthood could have made Rebecca more complete. Brevity is beautiful. A Chopin etude. To want it to continue past its final note would be a failure of understanding. Or rather, the wanting is itself the very coda that perfects it.

Then I thought: What are these tingly drugs? I imagine saving my grief in a glass box; my future sadness will finalize this perfection. The power button on the back of the nurse’s P.A.D. is therefore the ideal button! It is the circular mandala of the universe itself. The mandala swirled and grew, a spiraling tint across the hospital room.

 . . . ~ the procedure must be entirely voluntary ~ . . . said the CEO?

Something about cost-benefit analysis, something about the price of the equipment behind me which I pictured blooming like ten thousand flowers, something about insurance limits, my irreparable body, about a magnificent new Christian mission .  . . since I was an engineering professor at Loyola I would understand risk ratios—the words swam from his mouth like slow fish—expected utilities, why they couldn’t pay for even one more day unless I committed to—?

Theory 4: Cost-benefit analysis is the holiest of all things. It is the pinnacle of human wisdom and I the golden sacrifice upon it. I luxuriated in my magnanimity.

~ It must be entirely voluntary [fish-voice] but it will . . . three months at a million a day . . . you must not change your mind ~

Sara’s face was the perfect riddle! I nodded because dead-Rebecca had tied an invisible ribbon to my chin. And I continued to nod as I watched Sara’s hand guide mine across form after form thrust before me by the magical lawyers, and then the Cardinal of Los Angeles arrived!

The Cardinal’s dark sad face. Her swooping glorious Earth-angel red.

In my dream, the disciples were not lined up all on one side, but jammed together around a small round table in a dark room, noisy, arguing. I was leaning in toward Jesus, near his yellow ear, smelling someone’s sour feet. “You don’t even exist!” I hollered.

“You’ll give me a 10% credence, Isaac my baby,” he said. “11.3% after this dream.”

“Rebecca?” I asked.

“Simply multiply!” Jesus said, tearing a piece off the suddenly-paper tablecloth and scribbling illegible figures on it with a chewed plastic pen.

“10% times infinitude, 90% times void,” I figured.

“Plus 1% times everything else,” Jesus suggested, while another disciple bumped an elbow against his head, sloshing bad wine down the side of Our Savior’s (10%) face.

“Z% times infinitude is . . . ”

“A very large expectation!” said 10% Jesus, tearing off a new strip of paper for me, eyelash thin but infinitely long.

The drugs diminished and I crashed down into pain and grief. The drugs returned and I soared up again. Rebecca was a tombstone crushing me, which I couldn’t see past, then the stone became helium and the world fell away beneath us, a tiny thing—but where was her face?

Per the agreement, I would be amputated, sliced, and sacrificed. My recorded cognitive patterns would become the template for a new type of AI. Engineers measured my head, opened my skull, crusted my brain with devices, rerouted my facial nerves. They peeled back my cheeks and worked electronics up through my sinuses. In a certain subclass of my high moods, I nerded out with them, listening to their plans to scan and prep and slice my brain.

The best AI can’t be built from scratch. It needs a scanned human brain as template. A fully detailed scan is fatal, exposing the brain slice by slice—and even so the quality is too poor to transfer the whole personality and intelligence.

It would have been too expensive to keep me alive anyway, with my irreparably damaged body. And the Church had an intriguing plan for a new type of sacramental AI. There’d be weeks of prep, preliminary nonfatal scans, arguing about design, a bit of theology on the side.

A keyboard was mounted on a metal arm below my face to the right. I could flick my eyes from key to key, and my eye-tracker would detect the motions, then three blinks to send. In this way, I learned to speak in a slow, synthetic voice.

They replaced my body with a shapeless tangle of iridescent nanocarbon pipes and plastic bags. I became only a head, transfixed.

When Sara’s belly had just begun to grow with the thing that would become Abe, we visited a friend of hers in Guadalajara, who had a giant tank of tropical fish.

“Viven en el paraíso,” said the friend, Sun-yi. Sunny. They live in paradise.

“Pero no son peces,” said Sara. But they are not fish. Sara switched to English, “They are only fragments of fish. They don’t encounter a full world. There’s no risk, no learning, no choice, no gain or loss. You’ve taken demented slices of fish and put them on loop.”

“They are happy,” said Sunny, touching the aquarium glass with two long fingers. “You need suffering? You need la vida complicada?” You need a complicated life?

Sara looked at me, but I declined to take sides. “I propose a fish sacrifice,” I said. “For their sins, they can suffer vicariously tonight. We will crucify some tilapia upon the dinner plate.”

After Sara was asleep, I sat in the friend’s living room, watching the fish in the dim light. I could hear a bed squeaking two rooms down—Sunny enjoying a slice of bliss with the short middle-aged man the restaurant had sent over with the tilapia.

A demon bit through my phantom left leg, just above the knee. I contorted my face, though lacking lungs the loudest noise I could make was tooth clacking.

Sara lifted a wormlike tube from the rack beneath me, squinting as if trying to puzzle it out. “This here is the torture-pain tube,” she said. “Part 673HB1.2.9a6, delivered on rush from the eighth plane of Hell. The doctor installed it because she wishes she could have more anal sex but her husband isn’t up to the job.”

The white nurse by the white sink held up a bright red bag. A margin of electric hostility seemed to separate Sara and her, who never acknowledged each other. “Now, Professor Isaac,” the nurse said, “you’re ready for your new nanites, aren’t you?” The nurse’s blue-gloved hands reached past my face to the apparatus behind me, then returned holding a mostly empty bag.

Tomorrow’s bags hung from her cart in a line, whatever was in them waiting to become a piece of me. Red? Black? Sad? Lucid?

Abe had been teaching himself the philosophical literature on personal identity and artificial intelligence. “It will totally be you, Dad!” he said. “It’s the future of AI. The Church is really doing it. They’re cutting edge; they’re pouring an ocean of money into it. Way better than a taxi AI, way better, Dad, nothing like a cleaning bot!” Abe looked a little guiltily down at the cleaning bot who happened to be polishing the floor at that moment, but the bot’s inter-Face smiled easily up at us.

“Hello,” it said.

Abe continued, “Those future people in the rosary beads will have your memories, Dad. They’ll be real people, really conscious. And just like you’re the same person as that ten-year-old kid on the skateboard thirty-five years ago—just like that, those people will be you. They’ll remember me, they’ll remember Mom, they’ll remember this. Some of this. Some. Enough. Think, Dad. A billion years of joy in millions of bodies! Who needs Heaven? You’ll still be going long after I’m dead, long after my eighty-greats-grandchildren are dead! You, the eternal twenty-five-year-old, remembering Mom and me, and Becca. Doing whatever you want in that bead—blissing out, flying, whatever—no pain at all! Crap, Dad, I’m totally jealous. I want to be the one in the crash, doing this, becoming a new template mind.”

“Bot, stop cleaning a minute,” I had my synthetic voice say.

“Yes, Professor Lee,” the bot said, smiling again.

“How much do you remember of your old life?” I asked.

The bot’s inter-Face frowned slightly. “I am instructed not to answer that question.”

“What caused the dissolution of the United States?”

“That topic exceeds my parameters,” the bot said, frowning again. Two feathery dusters unfolded from its sides like arms and it spun them idly.

“Dad,” interjected Abe. “It won’t be like that. Slicing up prisoners’ brains is the old tech. Those old templates for limited AI, that’s exactly what the Church is finally moving past! You’ll be general AI, with real self-awareness. No cognitive constraints. Not like them. Not like the old stuff.”

I pictured the taxi’s inter-Face, as we were falling. “In a tiny world,” I said.

“How big does a world have to be, Dad? What’s wrong with a rosary bead? Plus, there’ll be millions of you everywhere!”

Sara said nothing, seeming to be checking mail or something else on her P.A.D. But after Abe had gone back to school, she leaned toward my left ear and whispered, “Isaac, we’re going to replace your body and screw the Church.” Straightening back up, she raised her middle fingers and waggled them in front of my face.

“Do you envy the fish?” Sunny had whispered in my ear, touching my shoulder, that night in Guadalajara.

I had fallen asleep on the soft leather couch. I was dazed with sleep and wine, excited from dream. Slowly, Sunny’s hand slid down my chest.

Theory 5: I would have let her take me that night, had fear and shame not immobilized me from the neck down. 5A: And that would have been a good thing. 5B: It would have been a terrible thing. The equation will not stay put.

In the vids, the Cardinal had a way of shifting her lips contemplatively to the left. Tall, Jamaican-accented, in the brilliant color of her rank, she praised the courage of the twelve volunteers. She emphasized that although the beings in the rosary beads would be as capable of pleasure as any animal, only God could create genuine eternal souls. The optional new beads would only add a modern variation to traditional atonement—like caring for a plant or puppy to help redeem one’s sin, but in a certain way much better because of the vast potential pleasure the new AIs would experience. From human sin, AI ecstasy. I watched on repeat as my medications rose and fell, and the videos took very different shape depending on my mood. She was visionary saint. She was thin claw of the devil.

Sara clicked off the video. “We’ve got six weeks!” she said. “Is that what you’re going to do?”

My synthetic voice: “What else I do?”

Sara uttered some un-Churchy words. Then, pointing right between my eyes: “I’m working on it. Don’t go permanently fishy-brained on me, Isaac.”

Commentators speculated about the Rosary Project. The Church would rack a huge profit, some said. The (supposedly) Free City of Los Angeles would come even more under its domination. Sinners would count and spin beads, launching tiny new worlds. Later they would watch the worlds they’d booted, adjust the parameters of their creations, manipulate a limited range of events, maybe experience their creations through immersive virtual reality. There would be collectible sets and unique beads with rising aftermarket value. The two most addictive ideas in history, religion and video-gaming, would finally become one.

The worlds would tick on and on, unstoppable once launched—worlds of unmixed, repeating joy for the AIs within them. But could an AI really feel joy? Or was it always only outward show? If Jack the Ripper had only launched enough tiny worlds, would he have been a benevolent man in sum?

Sara sat on a rolling stool, leaning toward me, her graying brown hair falling across her right eye, in that way it always did. She spoke steadily to me, focusing me, redirecting my mind, steering me back from hallucinatory drift. She spoke about the past, about people we knew, about the insane dance parties we’d thrown in grad school, about history and politics, about the time our car stalled in the mountain blizzard and we had to sleep in the back while the battery ran to zero, about the fuzzy purple stuffed bear Rebecca had loved, about the beauty of her brief life remembered.

Abe brought pizza slices and kimchee and said ease up, Mom.

But Abe pressed too, in his own way. He’d given me video glasses with articles I could read just by flicking my eyes. With a lop-sided smile, he’d unzip his hoodie to show me some retro t-shirt, then he’d slip a little stick gently into the top of my glasses—always the latest bit of AI enthusiasm. He’d pretend to ignore me and he’d fold his thin body into the soft guest recliner and do homework on his P.A.D. or text his boyfriend.

When the meds flowed high I was too scatterbrained to read Abe’s articles and they seemed pointless, unwise—why should I care if it would be me in that bead, truly uploaded? My life is but a tiny concern beside creation! Nothing could be more beautiful than my sweaty, rumpled son and his unknown future. When my meds crashed me down I couldn’t bear to read the articles and they seemed pointless and unwise in an entirely different way—the AIs would be mere demented monsters to profit the Church. In still other moods, escape to a synthetic uncomplicated Heaven was exactly what I craved. I couldn’t tell which of the shifting attitudes constituted my true opinion.

“Humanity, Dad. How much longer do we have? Really?” Abe was showing me a vid on his P.A.D. of the war in Europe. “But these beads are gonna be frickin indestructible—millions of years, solid state, no moving parts. Tiny fusion core. You are the future, Dad, my only faith, the only promise from the Halls of Power that I believe.”

Sara didn’t comment on Abe’s articles. None of the crap about uploading for her. She was a brain and body girl. A dancer. A dancer in her youth at least.

When had we last danced?

A picnic beneath mountain oaks. Abe, Rebecca, Sara, and me. A stained plastic tablecloth, dry cheese, plastic knives, guava juice for the kids, Chianti for the grown-ups in blue fiber cups. Figs, rye bread. Barely visible over the crest of the hill behind Sara, taxis arcing along the upper San Gabriel track. A honey-colored insect that I’d let wiggle off with a crumb. Prickers in my socks.

Two hundred students in the auditorium: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering. Unexpectedly, I see Sara at the top of the left stairway among the seats, near the entry door, faintly smiling, arms crossed, long-stemmed tulips jutting from one hand, for me I think. I will soon learn why. She is pregnant with Rebecca.

Rebecca and me on our hard faux-wood apartment floor, playing cards. Her jack of spades takes my ten of hearts.

Rebecca and me behind a low planter in the 104th floor garden, pretending to hide from love-goblins.

Abe dancing with his school trophy for overall academic achievement in seventh grade, Rebecca dancing with him in contagious joy. “Beck-o! Sis-o!” He whoops and slaps her hand. “Beck-OH!”

What is marriage, Sara? You grow together, repeating the days. Something deepens. Something fades.

Love’s ten thousandth kiss.

If I had millions of parallel lives, each lasting millions of subjective years, in simple, repeating worlds of size X, what would I want? Anything compatible with the doctrines of the Church. A timeless library? Mountain trees and sunsets? An endless day on the beach? Small psychological adjustments would ensure that these delights never grew tiresome.

I chose to dance. My perfect dance floor. My ideal partners—versions of Sara, younger, when we first met, in our wild nighttime exuberances. I would dance with ghosts of the Sara who had once electrified me. Or maybe only my demented descendants would dance, spawned off templates from my sacrificed brain, not really me. Or only seem to dance?

My seeming dance partners would be crafted partly from our old photos and my verbalized memories, but also from new videos of Sara. The engineers would capture her shape, her movements, her style, and seed a range of Sara-sprites for my dance world.

The engineers placed a camera between my eyes.

Sara danced right there in the hospital room, everyone watching, even Grumpy Nurse, even some random old man with a hospital gown and rolling I.V. pole. Abe had his P.A.D. hooked to some ferocious little speakers. “Go, Dad!” he said, as if I was the one doing anything.

While Sara danced she pierced me with a stare so intense I couldn’t fathom what was behind it—as if she could will me back from death.

Ten-percent Jesus was slow-dancing with little Rebecca, both of them dirty-footed, lovers in some Heaven that looked like a cramped stonewall restaurant.

Rebecca turned to look at me, still dancing. “Daddy, does this card mean I will live forever?” Her right hand was holding a playing card, its face toward me. It was the terrified inter-Face of the taxi AI.

From the ragged bottom of Jesus’ tunic, long ribbons tapered. Did they simplify as they approached their asymptotes?

“The sum might be divergent,” I answered.

“Eternity,” whispered 10% Jesus, leaning to touch his damp forehead against mine, “is precisely like a melon. Repetitive! Forgetful. Is that why the Cardinal loves it so?”


I opened my eyes.

“Isaac. Fishy-head.” Sara whispering.

For a moment I thought I had arms and feet and tried to move them. Then I had tangled hallucinatory arms and feet that would not uncramp. Becca?

In the dim nighttime hospital light, Sara introduced a new doctor, who leaned over me with a syringe. Soon I was high again, this time in a different way. The doctor and his assistant began to detach me from the larger equipment, began to load my tubes and bags into a cart. Sara explained that they had an experimental plan to re-embody me. I saw no St. Vincent nurses. I soared higher. Colors and sounds and tastes blurred into each other. New indescribably beautiful galaxies of consciousness were invented, and time stretched out to Hubble lengths—or so it seemed to me.

I woke in an antique gas-powered ambulance, rumbling somewhere. I saw Abe, Sara, a piece of the new doctor. I held only a remnant of my previous high, and I longed to soar again. The ambulance stopped and idled.

Abe looked nauseous. “The Church is looking for us, Dad,” he said. “The phones and AIs and webbed electronics are all off, so they can’t trace us.”

My keyboard and voice synthesizer were gone. I looked at Sara.

“Fifty-fifty,” she said. “Fifty-fifty. But that’s better than certain death.”

A bug with shiny red wings crawled on the metal wall behind her.

“Not death, Mom,” Abe said.

Abe’s P.A.D. was on the seat by his thigh, where Sara and the doctor couldn’t see. Abe’s thumb was near the power button.

“We need you,” Sara said. “We’re going to Oakland. Abe and I need you. You need to live, be a father again, a professor again. We need to walk in the mountains again. We need to sip espresso by a garden again, people-watching and making snide remarks. You need to help us remember Rebecca. We need to bake bread and drink wine at midnight.”

I could feel my mood descending further, hallucinatory viscera twisting into my consciousness. A father to whom? To the ghost of Rebecca? To Abe, who would rather send me off? A husband why?

The ambulance revved up, and their human bodies swayed with the ride. Sara threw words of life at me, but they hazed and fuzzed . . . ~ spinal splice . . . nanite stem cells . . . installed with growth casings the new apartment . . . short roll two Shattuck Line you learn . . . ~ Boo woo, boo boo wooh?

Theory 6: You need suffering? You need la vida complicada?

Theory 7: These beads are gonna be frickin indestructible. You are the future, Dad, my only faith, the only promise from the Halls of Power that I believe.

I fixed my gaze on Abe’s power button. I flicked my eyes up, down, left, right—the cross. Up, down, left, right again. Looking at the power button, the thumb. The location tracking software. Abe will understand.

Sara’s voice, too harsh: “Isaac, what are you doing?”

Up, down, left, right.

The world is graying . . .

Abe’s thumb falls the decisive half inch, and the ten thousand satellite eyes of Heaven turn silently toward us.

Rebecca cups a brown bead in her right hand. We’re in the stone restaurant. 10% Jesus is sitting at a little wooden piano in the corner, rifling through a scruffy sheaf of sheet music Saint Peter has just given him. I lean down close toward Rebecca’s bead. Rebecca raises her hand, pressing the bead through my forehead.

I’m on a glittering modern dance floor. Red lights pulse with the rhythms. A beautiful woman spins before me in flat shoes and green blooming dress, her brow furious with concentration, her gaze intense. She points her left forefinger toward me. She twirls and stops, twirls and stops, each time advancing a little closer, her eyes coming round to fix me more ferociously with each spin. Have I seen her before? S- S- Sarai? Who was I dancing with yesterday?

A vortex of carbon-tube tropical fish erupts around us, swimming mid-air, twisting their fins. The woman steps suddenly, surprisingly near. For a long moment, her face and body are a tantalizing electric half-inch from mine. She raises a shoulder, lowers a hip, so close, without touching, and stares straight into my eyes. She leans forward and our bodies meet. How can I explain the tingle, the fizz that fills me—love’s first kiss, in that moment when you briefly know that the world has become perfect. The bass line surges and deepens. A greater joy than this, I could not imagine. Everything is glass except us at this moment, the lantern center.

Then some fragments of memories I don’t understand—a picnic, two children dancing with a trophy, a man and girl playing cards.

I am back in the stone restaurant.

“Is that me?”

I look around, and everything is dust. Humanity is long since extinct.

I wake again. The hospital room is dark. Now there is a guard.

The Cardinal’s two long fingers reaching forward. I feel them touch my eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, her unction oil wet on my face, wooden crucifix dancing as she leans, a bass line of thumping rhythms from the machines.

She is chanting a Latin prayer. She presses her soft lips to my forehead and whispers, “Only what is corrupt and changeable dies.”

Her red gown backs away and I see Sara’s face, not in person—she is only a thin vid on Abe’s P.A.D. ~ from, from? Jumpsuit orange.

~ the newsfeeds, Dad . . . said they’d give Mom leniency ~

Abe is kneeling, shaking. Crying?

~ going to a better place, Dad ~

Abe’s P.A.D. falls from his shaking hands. Flat slice of video-Sara rotating toward the floor, fish-slow. Something black covers my eyes and the noise of the slicer is suddenly loud ~

One piece reflects on the unusual sensation of having one’s brain pulled apart. One piece gives a loving last thought to Rebecca and Sara and Abe. Another piece dances away, ecstatic, forgetting.

These pieces do not know each other. Maybe one of them is me.

Stomp Dance | Chickasaw Nation

Stomp dancing is an important aspect of Chickasaw culture. Historically, stomp dancing has its roots in the Green Corn Ceremony, springtime celebrating harvest, redemption and forgiveness. Men sing stomp dance songs in a call-and-answer format, following a male song leader, who often sets the dance rhythm using a handheld turtle shell rattle.

Women enhance the rhythms with shakers made from box turtle shells worn on their legs. The use of turtle shells is intended to show respect and gratitude to the animal world for providing so many good things for the people.

Chickasaws believe that the fire at the center of the dance circle is the embodiment of Aba' Binni'li' (the Creator) on earth and that the smoke carries our prayers to the Creator. Stomp dancers move counterclockwise around the fire, so their hearts are closest to the fire, and the smoke lifts their prayers to Aba' Binni'li'.

Stomp dance demonstrations by tribal dancers can also be seen every day at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. The Chickasaw Cultural Center is located at 867 Cooper Memorial Drive, Sulphur, Oklahoma 73086. Traditional stomp dances take place at Kullihoma Grounds, which is located 10 miles east of Ada, Oklahoma, on Hwy. 1.

Contact the Cultural Resources office at (580) 622-7140 for more information concerning Kullihoma stomp dances.

Social Dances

Honoring Chickasaw Warrior
To begin this ceremony, tobacco is put on hot coals. Then, an elder or a veteran says a prayer giving thanks to the creator for the warrior's return and for those who aren't coming. After using body wash for purifying, an elder, veteran or a medicine man smokes the warrior with cedar, cleansing him to forget all bad memories and removing anything bad that had come home with him.

To honor a Chickasaw warrior is to recognize him in front of his people—to show his greatness and to let it be known to all. There is an honor song and honor dance in the people's presence for what he has done. An honored warrior is presented with an eagle feather for high honor, and a blanket is put upon his shoulders in honor of the people. The people and friends give a gift if they desire, and if they have nothing to give, a handshake is appropriate in recognizing the warrior’s actions. In addition, a feast is given in honor of the one who is recognized, along with the ones of the past, present and those who are going to war.

Gar Fish Dance
This song and dance appears to be one of the last remaining traditional Chickasaw dances. It is traditionally associated with the Green Corn Ceremony, in which the teeth of a garfish are used in the purification ritual connected with the ceremonies. This dance is performed in pairs of alternating gender (man, woman, man, woman, etc. ) in a circle, while holding hands, with the lead singer in the center. There should be six men and six women, with additional pairs if needed. At some point in the song, the lead singer beats the drum hard three or more times, and the man and woman swing each other around counter clockwise, with the woman stopping in front of the man and exchanging partners, ending up woman, man, woman, man, etc. This will continue until all dancers end up with the partner with whom they started.

Stealing Partners
In the past, this dance was done with only young men who were eligible for marriage, as the young women watched and waited to be stolen by their suitors. The young men danced in a line of circular motion while one of the elders sang the Stealing Partners song. Then, one of the young men would let out a yell, run out and take his mate by the hand, escorting her back into the circle to finish the dance. This was repeated until all the young men had picked a young woman who he wished to marry. At the end of the song, all the young men and women would answer the singing elder.

Today, it is a social dance done in a similar manner. The women line up after the men as they go out and steal a partner. It is a beautiful way to meet, and everyone is encouraged to participate.

Four Corners
The number four plays an important role in Chickasaw people’s lives. Examples include the four directions of the earth and the four seasons. Even in the stomp ground circle, the four arbors are set in the four directions of the compass. The Four Corners dance begins with the lead singer and his followers facing east. As the person standing next to the lead singer yells four times, the followers answer him, returning the yell. This is called the awaking. Starting with the lead singer, the song begins, and they all join hands, following him as he leads them in the four directions of the circle. After the four directions are completed, they end up in the center at the fire and finish with a stomp dance.

Snake Dance
The dance is not to honor the snake, but to respect it, for it is a creature of the earth. Chickasaws learned the way of the snake by watching how it crawls to hunt its prey. It is believed that the snake has no fear, will strike at any time and is a patient hunter.

The dance is started with one singer, and he sings to the beat of a drum or a rattler. The other dancers line up with a lead man dancer acting as the head of the snake, followed by the lead women shell shaker, then a man, woman and so forth, all holding hands. They form a long line, and the singer plays the part of prey. The lead singer chants the song while the dancers answer him back, both men and women. The dancers then follow the lead dancer as he imitates the movement of the snake, circling the lead singer as if closing in to capture its prey for the feast. The snake dance is one of the oldest-known Chickasaw dances and has been passed on to successive generations.

Stomp Dance
The traditional stomp dance is the most well-known dance of the Southeastern tribes. We believe our ceremonial songs and dances have been a part of tribal custom since time began. The dance is announced by one of the ground leaders as he speaks to let the other clans know who is going to lead the song. The lead singer makes his way toward the fire with his lead shell shaker and is followed by the rest of the clans or people who follow him into the circle in alternating gender (man, woman and so forth). The women wear traditional turtle shells or the updated version, cans, on their calves to help keep the rhythm of the song. The dance is performed counterclockwise around the fire.

The lead singer will let out a yell to awaken the Creator, and as he lets out the second yell, all the other men answer as if the Creator is speaking through them. The leader then goes into his chant, during which only the Creator knows what is said. It is also believed that the lead singer’s chants or prayer chants are answered in four days. Depending on the seriousness of the leader and if he is asking for himself or the other clan people, the Creator may grant what was asked.

Friendship Dance
The friendship dance is a greeting for two clans or tribes coming together, so there will be no war between them. Either clan or tribe can farm, hunt and fish on the same land without fear of a battle. It also helps to protect their villages. The friendship dance is still alive today among the Chickasaw people. We welcome all visitors to join in this social dance, so that all people can live in harmony with one another. It is often the first dance performed and most popular among visitors.

The dance is started in the east side of the circle with the men facing east and the women facing the men, which will be west. One of the men standing next to the lead singer gives four yells, answered by the other men, at which time the lead singer starts the song. The lead singer turns to his left, extending his hand to the lead woman shell shaker, and the others then follow, going in a counter-clockwise motion. After the friendship dance has been sung, the men and women remain in line to follow it with a stomp dance lead by the same leader that started the friendship song.

Doubleheader Dance
This dance has two leaders, with the same number of men on each side of them, forming a long line with the two leaders in the center of the line. This formation is repeated by the women, with the two lead shell shakers in the center and the same number of women on each side. The dance is performed with the men facing east, the women facing the men and all of them located on the east side of the stomp ground circle. After the two leaders pace from east to west four times, the men will part in opposite directions and join hands with the women. One line moves clockwise, and the other, counterclockwise. They continue moving in the opposite direction making a complete circle around the fire in the larger stomp ground circle until the two leaders come together and face each other, at which time they exchange songs (or take turns) and alternate between singing and chanting.

Both men and women answer the chant. This will continue until three rounds have been made, and on the fourth round, the two leaders come together. Both go in the same direction, side-by-side, counterclockwise, until one last complete circle is made around the fire. A yell completes the Doubleheader Dance.

Duck Dance
The dance is performed with the men, side-by-side, in lines of two, facing the women, who are also in lines of two. The lead singer stands to the side as the dancers form a line with the men on one side and the women on the other. When the lead singer starts the song, all the dancers move their feet in a side-to-side motion. As the song continues, the lead singer makes a change in the song with the drum or rattle. The first two lead men dancers lift their arms for the first two women to go under. The men then drop their arms while the next two women in line face them and make the sound of a duck quacking. This continues until the song or dance is completed. This dance is performed to give thanks to the Creator for fowl as food.

Drinking Water Dance
This dance is performed in a line with all members standing side-by-side and locking arms, except for the lead singer. As the lead singer moves forward, then backward, the other dancers follow him in alternating gender (man, woman, man, woman and so forth). They start moving in the same motion, creating a wave as if it is water.

There can be two lines or more in this dance. As the dance begins moving back and forth, the dancers all start going in a counterclockwise circular motion until the song is completed or another singer begins a new song. This is a ceremonial dance for the people reminding them not to stray from their culture and beliefs and encouraging them, so they may stay strong in their lives.


Deer Toe Shakers

Stomp Dance Presentation

Lyrics of the song "Meet the Fish - Dance" translation, lyrics, video, clip

The winter sun hides in the branches
Old, prickly pine.
The thicket hid in the arms of a mighty blizzard

Brother April drowned himself in the river
from an absurd and wild longing
And I will unfasten all the hooks on my overcoat.

Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance

You will count 9 to yourself0003 And look at my clumsy steps
Slightly smiling
about every awkward movement

We hold each other in our arms
so tenaciously - like the earth holds the dead.
We are spinning together with trouble - turning into a constellation

Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance

The butcher dances with a motley cow,
Dances grief in a cheerful house,
Only time is not dancing 003 stones on the lid of the coffin dancing,
Coma time.

Before, it seemed that we had a lot of it,
And now, excuse me shorts in something yellow.
It's the sun that stained the underwear
Runs away from us in a thin stream.

The rusty itself reaches out to the rusty,
The sick patient affectionately touches,
The decrepit embraces the shabby,
Branches beat twisted.

The body froze in awkward silence,
The lips trembled with a faint sound:
“And the one that I loved and searched for all my life I found,
but it smells of onions”

Why say that they did this to you,
That joy went to some third?
You wouldn't live with yourself after this:
You let time into your head.

The rusty itself reaches out to the rusty,
The sick patient affectionately touches,
The decrepit embraces the shabby,
Branches beat twisted.

So hit your open palm with your fist,
Give your body a rhythm and see how it ends
Bones hum and smell of space
Skin itch from the rush of blood.

Invite me to dance,
Invite me to dance,
Invite me to dance,
Invite Dance
Winter sun is hiding in the branches
Old barbed pine.
Thicket refugee took in the arms of a mighty snowstorm

Brother April drowned in the river
from the absurd and wild melancholy
I undo all the hooks on his overcoat.

Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance

3 Invite

You will consider himself
And look at my clumsy pas
Just a faint smile
of every awkward movement

We hold each other in arms
so tenacious - as the earth holds the dead.
We circled with bedoy- becoming a constellation

Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance
Invite me to dance

Dancing with the butcher motley cow
Dancing mountain in a fun house,
Dance stones on the lid of coffin
Only time not dancing,
At the time of coma.

Previously, it seemed to us that it a lot,
And now, excuse briefs in something yellow.
This is because the sun stained underwear
From our stream runs fine.

Rusty rusty to itself stretches,
Sick sick tenderly touches,
Decrepit dilapidated with embraces,
Branches beating crimped.

The body was frozen in awkward silence,
His lips trembled a weak sound:
"And that I loved and searched, I found all my life,
but I smell onions "

Why say that this is done to you,
What joy is gone to what is the third?
T b itself did not live with him after this:
You've let myself in my head time

Rusty rusty to itself stretches,
Sick sick tenderly touches,
Decrepit dilapidated with embraces,
Branches beating crimped. Bones are buzzing and the smell of space
Leather zudi from a rush of blood.

Invite me to dance,
Invite me to dance,
Invite me to dance,

See also:

  • Fish meeting - Our Young Eyes
  • Fish Encounter - Andersen
  • Fish Encounter - My Palestine
  • Fish Encounter - Ballistics
  • Meeting fish - Empty chores

Fishermen and fish are dancing.

Ballet based on Pushkin's fairy tale recreated after 35 years of oblivion

Karina Kozlova

Culture 04 April 2019

On the stage of the Grand Concert Hall "Oktyabrsky" premiere performances of the magical ballet "The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish" took place.

Igor Kolb (The Old Man) and Yevgenia Shtaneva (The Old Woman) in a scene from the play. PHOTO by Stas LEVSHIN

The ballet, based on the well-known story, has been recreated after 35 years of oblivion since the first production and is dedicated to the celebration of the 220th anniversary of the birth of A. S. Pushkin.

The author of the choreography was Irina Safonova, the director of the performance is the soloist of the Igor Moiseev Ensemble, Honored Artist of Russia Nikolai Androsov.

Irina Safonova is a direct heir to the centuries-old traditions of the St. Petersburg classical ballet school, one of the last students of A. Ya. Vaganova and an artist of the Kirov Theater of the era of Yuri Grigorovich. For many years she has been the artistic director of the Children's Ballet Theater and staging performances in her own original choreography, including The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish.

The score for the ballet was written by a student of Dmitry Shostakovich, accordion player, composer and conductor Vladimir Boyashov. And it was conceived not for a symphony orchestra, as is usually the case in a musical theater, but for an orchestra of folk instruments. The audience could be convinced of the scale of the idea at the very beginning of the performance during the overture, when the State Academic Russian Orchestra. V. V. Andreeva, "growing" out of the orchestra pit, showed a variety of folk instruments and tuned the audience to the upcoming fairy tale.

Seven contrasting paintings alternated on the stage, embodying two worlds: either folklore-lubok - an old man and an old woman, then fabulously fantastic - the inhabitants of the underwater kingdom. The worlds differed not only in color and entourage, but most importantly - in the choreographic solution. If the first world was presented in folk-characteristic plasticity, with moments referring to the grotesque familiar to the audience of Yakobson's ballets, then the second world was presented as a pure classical dance on pointe shoes in strict compositional drawings.

The choreographer's success was the memorable plastic leitmotifs of the main characters of the fairy tale: the Golden Fish (Olesya Gapienko) was light, the Old Man (Igor Kolb) was distinguished by a lively, expressive pantomime game, and Evgenia Shtaneva in the part of the Old Woman energetically and accurately conveyed the greed and extravagance of the heroine.

The only understatement was the part of the Lord of the Ocean, the King of the Sea from the first act of the ballet, designed specifically for Ivan Vasiliev. The day before the premiere, the dancer was injured, and the audience was left without their favorite artist. Therefore, charming pearls from the Mikhailovsky and Bolshoi theaters (Sabina Yapparova and Viktoria Litvinova) performed only a fragment from the planned pas de trois "Ocean and Pearls". The choreographer was Ivan Vasiliev himself. Composed long before the premiere of the ballet, the number was successfully shown in the play "The Ball of Fairy Tales" in the State Kremlin Palace.

The script of the ballet corresponded almost exactly to the literary source, with the exception of some plot additions, which not only did not disturb the course of the choreographic narrative, but even strengthened the accents and added color. Among these additions, the concert divertissement of different peoples, invited to the feast of the Old Woman in the second act, stood out. By that time, she had become a free queen. Stars of Russian ballet took part in the divertissement.

The European guests were performed by Marat Shemiunov and Irina Perren. They acted out a dance scene of a master and a wind-up doll, sending the audience either to The Nutcracker or to the ballet Coppelia.

Then, surrounded by four temple dancers, an Indian guest performed by Farukh Ruzimatov appeared. The orchestra fell silent for a moment. To the accompaniment of Indian musicians, located in the corner of the stage with authentic instruments (sitar, kanjira, bansuri and others), the overseas guest fascinated the capricious queen with his bestial, languid, exotic plasticity. Although she remained adamant, the viewer was definitely subdued.

The change of choreographic pictures was accompanied by a change of animated multimedia scenery, and the viewer moved from the hut by the sea to the royal chambers, swayed on the waves, plunged into the depths of the sea.

More than 180 costumes were specially created for the ballet, hand-embroidered with shiny stones and multi-colored sequins.

The finale of the ballet was crowned with Pushkin's morality. Continuing to live and enjoy what they already have, the heroes of the fairy tale began to spin in a common final dance.

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