Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.
Right and Left
By Lou Pechi
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It just dawned on me that for some people it is very hard to tell the difference between the right and the left foot.
Of course, for me that has not been a problem, since I dance with two left feet.
You might say, "Oh, come on! How do you know that you have two left feet?"
Every time I dance, while learning a new dance, the teacher points at me and says, "Use you other left foot!" And, we all know that teachers are always "right."
Throughout history most of the attention was give to the hands and not to the feet.
"Dve levi ratse" (to have two left hands) in Bulgarian means being clumsy. In Hungarian "balfácán" means twit ("bal" means left and "fácán" means pheasant). The English word "sinister" comes from the Latin word "sinistre" which originally meant left but took on the meaning of "evil" or "unlucky." In Italian the words "mancino" and "tiro mancino" translate to "left-handed" and "left-handed pull or trickery." The British slang words for left-handed are "kefty," "scrammy," and "wacky."
In most of the cultures the use of the left hand has been discouraged. The left handedness of a wife was grounds for divorce in ancient Japan, while native Americans, to encourage the use of the right hand, used to strap the left hand of an infant to their cradleboard, while leaving the right hand free.
We can get away with using only one hand, but strapping the left foot to anything would make dancing impossible.
Only in the Chinese tradition, the "Yin," or right side, lives in harmony with the left side, the "Yang."
Maybe we should learn from the Chinese and live in harmony with both our limbs and just enjoy our dancing.
I and my two left limbs have been enjoying dancing for years. Join me, and please excuse me if occasionally my other left foot steps on your right one.
Used with permission of the author.
As appearing in "Dancing with Two Left Feet (38)," Folk Dance Scene.