Friday, April 23, 2010

Body Language Blogfest

Well, I did it again. I signed up for another blogfest. This one was easier than the last one. At least I think it was. Harley D. Palmer over at Labotomy of a Writer (click on this to see the other entries) was talking with Ashelynn and came up with the idea for a blogfest for a scene where there is conversation, but without any dialog at all...whatsoever. Just body language. Okay, maybe it was hard because my characters really do like to talk. I put boxing tape over their mouths. (Just saying.)

So here is my entry. Just over 800 words. Sorry. Then trek on over to Lobotomy of a Writer to link to the other entries.

Scanned from History of Dance, by Mary Clarke and Clement Crisp


Raul leaned against the post, his crisp, white shirt open at the neck and the sleeves rolled to his elbows. The black trousers hugged his narrow hips and extended down long legs to end precisely over polished, leather boots with just the slightest heel. His head swiveled from couple to couple, watching us fumble through our steps, showing no favoritism. He didn’t smile. He never smiled.

The percussion of the hot, Latin beat vibrated as my father spun me out in a triple turn, and Raul whirled by me--once, twice, three times. I cut to a dipping halt with perfect balance, toe pointed in a pose I’d practiced hundreds of times in front of my roommate’s full-length mirror. This was the last chance for his gaze to focus on me and recognize my potential. My father, sweet though he was, missed his cue, forgot the lead, stepped across instead of back, providing no support to recover from the attitudinizing position. My eyes flew to the confused glance of my father, begging him to save me as my balance shifted. His hand let go. My toe continued outward and gravity sucked me down. The last week, the last lesson, the last song and it would end with me in an undignified heap of floaty black skirt and glittery silver shoes.

A firm, strong hand closed around my wrist. My eyes crawled up the muscular arm, across the starched white stretched across broad shoulders, and slowly moved to the sizzling black stare of Raul. I gulped. He extended his other hand in a graceful, sweeping arc above his head as though my encounter with the floor were planned. As the next stanza thrummed, he pulled me up like I weighed nothing more than steam rising above sunny, wet cobblestone. His gaze focused on mine and he snapped me against him, our bodies molding together from ankle to chest. Shivers danced up my spine and his lips hovered over mine. Our hearts hastened to the music and our breath mingled. His left arm lifted my right, while he pressed me forward with his other hand into a slow, four-beat underarm turn. Again he snapped me against his length, bending me back, his sultry stare locked on mine. I licked dry lips. We held like that a beat too long and his eyes narrowed. One corner of his mouth lifted just a fraction and sent my pulse soaring. He spun me out in a half turn and brought my back against him, our arms crossed over my chest. His lips nuzzled my hair just below my ear and goosebumps quick-stepped down my arms.

My father sat on a chair at the perimeter of the dance floor, bent over to untie his leather-soled shoes. I blew out a breath, glad his attention focused elsewhere. On the last, long note of the song, Raul swung me away, turned me in his arms and dropped to one knee, arching me over it until the ends of my hair swept the creaky floor. His solid muscles taut against me, one arm supporting my back, his dark gaze simmering on mine while he slid the outside edge of his hand in a slow, desultory line from the base of my neck to my navel.

My breathing slowed. My lips parted. Only a tiny rim of brown surrounded the black center of his eyes and I felt myself drawn into the black hole. Heat travelled from my toes to boil over my face. With a soft, deep growl he tilted me back to my feet. My eyes travelled to the rest of the intermediate class lining the perimeter of the polished wooden floor, untying shoe bags, or chatting with others. The advanced class filed onto the floor, smiling, laughing, pairing up in a circle for the beginning of class. The fiery heat still burned my cheeks but I forced eyes up to Raul. My index finger pointed at the dance floor and I cast him a tentative smile. He dipped his head in a lengthy bow and when he raised it again his gaze lingered, but he said nothing. I waited several seconds, hoping he’d ask me to join him--the advanced class was by invitation only—but his lips compressed into a line and his gaze sought out my father.

I stepped back and tried to keep the disappointment from my face. This was it. My eighth class. My father had agreed to partner me for only eight weeks of intermediate classes. Without Raul’s invitation, my lessons stopped here. My father finished tying his shoes and straightened, catching Raul’s gaze. Raul tilted his jaw and raised his eyebrows. My father nodded, extending his hand out, palm out, in silent approval.

My heart soared, but I remained still, afraid I’d embarrass myself if I’d read that exchange incorrectly. Raul nodded, sauntering to the center of the dance floor before he cut his eyes back to me. My heart thudded, but still I waited. He gaze swung back to me and he stretched out his hand, palm up, and smiled.


  1. Very nice!! Loved the steam bit. ;)

  2. Steamy... Raul's got some moves, hasn't he? I loved the description of the dance itself... that was excellent.

  3. oh, bravo, Melanie! *applauds* Really, really good - my heart's still pounding! Now...*where* did you say this dance class is?... ;o)


  4. Like Squeaky said. If that dance class has a Raul, maybe they have a Raulette?

    Your descriptions take the reader in just as if we were looking through a camera's lens. Hard to do. Easy to read.

    Come check out my entry, will you? Roland

  5. Jenku, you always like the steam. Hahaha.

    F., yes, the father should keep his eyes on Raul.

    Squeaky, let's go sign up.

    Roland, okay, a Raulette would be interesting. Thanks for the nice compliments.

  6. ooooooohhhhhh. Raul is hot. And that's my favorite name. I love how you can curl your tongue around it. Raaauuuuuuullll. Yum.

  7. Carolyn,

    You've got some really, really great body language going on in your books. But you can't have Raul. He's mine. :)

  8. Now that's a tango! RAul has some skills. I loved your entry. Great job.

  9. Good entry. I like the description of the character in the first paragraph. Nice work and something I need to work on in my own writing.

  10. Love this! Anything with dancing is good with me. And the "...he pulled me up like I weighed nothing more than steam rising above sunny, wet cobblestone" bit was great! I love a good simile. :)

  11. Nicely done! I'm surprised that more people didn't use a dance scene--yours is the first I've read so far! It lends itself so well to something like this!

  12. Raquel Byrnes,

    Thanks. I was thinking of "Take the Lead" when I wrote it.


    Thanks. I slaved over it.


    A good simile is hard to do. They seem good at night, but the next morning they must be tossed out.


    Oh the body language of professional dancers enthralls me. Mmmm mmmm.

  13. Chills ran down my arms and back also.

    That was a very vivid conversation. I've been told this is exactly what the tango is supposed to convery; passion and invitation.

    Excellent choice.


  14. Donna,

    Thanks. Makes me want to take up tango.

  15. Attitudinizing? I hate when that happens.
    I feel like I need a bit of dialog in here to know what's going on because some of it felt like telling where there should be verbalizations.
    Other than that I liked the sweep of emotions as the scene unfolded.
    Nice job!

  16. Excellent! As always! I loved the part where she's about to fall and Raul catches her. Very good showing and most excellent dialogue without words!

  17. This is great! I loved it! The interaction between the father and Raul was great!

  18. lapedus,

    I know!!! I was dying to put in dialog. It was everything I could do to force my fingers to obey when all they wanted was to press the shift "'" key.

    Jars and Sharon,



    Why don't you enter the next blogfest.


    Thanks so much for hosting that contest. It was really challenging, but fun.

  19. Oh, nicely done, good lady. I love that it's a dance scene. You can have all the sizzle without any conversation at all. Great job!

  20. Simon,

    As always, I'm thrilled to get a comment from you. :)


Comments are great fun. Really. I love them. Except from the bots that have found my blog. I'm enabling the word verification to block them. Sorry.