Students of movement play in front of mirrors all day
Students of movement revel in tranquil river babblings daydreaming how they can make those patterns their own
Students of movement have a love-hate relationship with floors, walls, and gravity 
Students of movement study pigeons, worms, dogs, turtles, fishes, snakes, swans...
Students of movement strive to understand their bodies and how their muscles and limbs can transform raw emotion into physical expression
Students of movement respect all genres of dance, martial arts, meditations, and interpretations

Students of movement
Nod to rhythms echoing through hollow stairways
fluid patterns
and gravity-defying poses... to each
Subway bus passing
Leaves rattling
Book pages flapping
Audience clapping...
Searching their souls
for the spontaneous
sequence that will
set them free
freeing others
fascinating in
the freedom set forth
syncopated high-hats
stage shaking stomps
three-second jumps
frictionless spins
and the sheer
beauty of

Used with permission of the poet. 

Oh how I wanted to be a dancer
those Saturday mornings in the
living room, neglecting chores

to gape at the whirling people
on our television: the shapely
and self-knowing brownskinned

women who dared stare straight
at the camera, the men strong,
athletically gifted as they

leaped, landed in full splits.
No black people I knew lived
like this—dressed in sequins,

make-up, men’s hair slicked
back like 40’s gangsters,
women in skin-tight, merciless

spandex, daring heels higher
than I could imagine walking in,
much less dancing. And that

dancing!—full of sex, swagger,
life—a communal rite where
everyone arched, swayed, shimmered

and shimmied, hands overhead
in celebration, bodies moving
to their own influences, lithe

under music pumping from studio
speakers, beneath the neon letters
that spelled out SOUL TRAIN—

the hippest trip in America.
I’d try to dance, to keep up,
moving like the figures on

the screen, hoping the rhythm
could hit me in that same
hard way, that same mission

of shake and groove, leaving
my dust rag behind, ignoring
the furniture and the polish

to step and turn as they did,
my approximation nowhere near
as clever or seductive, faking

it as best I knew how, shaking
my 12 year old self as if something
deep depended upon the right move,

the righteous step, the insistent
groove I followed, yearning to get
it right, to move like those dancers—

blessed by funk, touched with rhythm,
confident in their motions, clothes,
their spinning and experienced bodies.

From Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1997). Copyright © 1997 by Allison Joseph. Used with the permission of the author.

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
    Dark like me—
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
    Black like me.

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes. Used with permission.