Dances of The Free Woman

Free women on Gor did dance. Their dances were not sensual as the slave dances are, except possibly among the rencers. The dances of the Free Women of Gor were stately and had decorum expressing the concerns of the Free Women of Gor.

Free Woman dance of Welcoming

“They performed a most decorous dance, slowly and gracefully lifting their arms and turning, facing first one side and then the other. In their hands they held baskets of flower petals. The dance was the sort that free maidens of a city might perform to honor and welcome visiting dignitaries, or the ambassador and his entourage, of a foreign city. Had their gowns not been sleeveless, and had they not been barefoot, and had their throats not been locked in collars, one might have mistaken them for free women.”

Guardsman of Gor

Rencer’s Dance of Womanhood

Then, the rencers clapping their hands and singing, Telima approached me.
“To the pole,” she said.

I had seen the pole. It was not unlike the one to which I had been bound earlier in the day. There was a circular clearing amidst the feasters, of some forty feet in diameter, about which their circles formed. The pole, barkless, narrow, upright, thrust deep in the rence of the island, stood at the very center of the clearing, surrounded by the circles of the feasting rencers.

I went to the pole, and stood by it.

She took my hands and, with marsh vine, lashed them behind it. Then, as she had in the morning, she fastened my ankles to the pole, and then, again as he had in the morning, she bound me to it as well by the stomach and neck. Then, throwing away the garland of rence flowers I had worn, she replaced it with a fresh garland.

While she was doing this the rencers were clapping their hands in time and singing.

She stood back, laughing.

I saw, in the crowd, Ho-Hak, clapping his hands and singing, and the others, and he who had worn the headband of the pearls of the Vosk sorp, who had been unable to bend the bow.

Then, suddenly, the crowd stopped clapping and singing.

There was silence.

Then there came a drumming sound, growing louder and louder, a man pounding on a hollowed drum of rence root with two sticks, and then, as suddenly as the singing and clapping, the drum, too, stopped.

And then to my astonishment the rence girls, squealing and laughing, some protesting and being pushed and shoved rose to their feet and entered the clearing in the circle.

The young men shouted with pleasure.

One or two of the girls, giggling, tried to slip away, fleeing, but young men, laughing, caught them, and hurled them into the clearing of the circle.

Then the rence girls, vital, eyes shining, breathing deeply, barefoot, bare-armed, many with beads worn for festival, and hammered copper bracelets and armlets, stood all within the circle.

The young men shouted and clapped their hands.

I saw that more than one fellow, handsome, strong-faced could not take his eyes from Telima.

She was, I noted, the only girl in the circle who wore an armlet of gold.

She paid the young men, if she noticed them, no attention.

The rence communities tend to be isolated. Young people seldom see one another, saving those from the same tiny community. I remembered the two lines, one of young men, the other of girls, jeering and laughing, and crying out at one another in the morning.

Then the man with the drum of hollow rence root began to drum, and I heard some others join in with reed flutes, and one fellow had bits of metal, strung on a circular wire, and another a notched stick, played by scraping it with a flat spoon of rence root.

It was Telima who began first to pound the woven rence mat that was the surface of the island with her right heel, lifting her hands, arms bent, over her head, her eyes closed.

Then the other girls, too, began to join her, and at last even the shiest among them moved pounding, and stamping and turning about the circle. The dances of rence girls are, as far as I know, unique on Gor. There is some savagery in them, but too, they have sometimes, perhaps paradoxically, stately aspects, stylized aspects, movements reminiscent of casting nets or poling, of weaving rence or hunting gants. But, as I watched, and the young men shouted, the dances became less stylized, and became more universal to woman, whether she be a drunken house wife in a suburb of a city of Earth or a jeweled slave in Port Kar, dances that spoke of them as women who want men, and will have them. To my astonishment, as the dances continued, even the shiest of the rence girls, those who had to have been forced to the circle, even those who had tried to flee, began to writhe in ecstasy, their hands lifted to the three moons of Gor.

It is often lonely on the rence islands, and festival comes but once a year.

The bantering of the young people in the morning, and the display of the girls in the evening, for in effect in the movements of the dance every woman is nude, have both, I expect, institutional roles to play in the life of the rence growers, significant roles analogous to the roles of dating, display, and courtship in the more civilized environments of my native world, Earth.

It marks the end of a childhood when a girl is first sent to the circle.

Suddenly, before me, hands over her head, swaying to the music, I saw the dark-haired, lithe girl, she with such marvelous, slender legs in the brief rence skirt; her ankles were so close together that they might have been chained; and then she put her wrists together back to back over her head, palms out, as though she wore slave bracelets.

Then she said, “Slave,” and spit in my face, whirling away.

I wondered if it might be she who was my mistress.

Then another girl, the tall, blond girl, she who had held the coil of marsh vine, stood before me, moving with excruciating slowness, as though the music could be reflected only from moment to moment, in her breathing, in the beating of her heart.

“Perhaps it is I,” she said, “who am your mistress.”

She, like the other, spit then in my face and turned away, now moving fully, enveloped in the music’s flame.

One after another of the girls so danced before me, and about me, taunting me, laughing at their power, then spitting upon me and turning away.

The rencers laughed and shouted, clapping, cheering the girls on in the dance.

But most of the time I was ignored, as much as the pole to which I was bound.

Mostly these girls, saving for a moment or two to humiliate me, danced their beauty for the young men of the circle, that they might be desired, that they might be much sought.

After a time I saw one girl leave the circle, her head back, hair flowing down her back, breathing deeply and scarcely was she through the joined circles of the rencers, but a young man followed her, joining her some yards beyond the circle. They stood facing one another in the darkness for an Ehn or two, and then I saw him, gently, she not protesting, drop his net over her, and then, by this net, she not protesting, he led her away. Together they disappeared in the darkness, going over one of the raft bridges to another island, one far from the firelight, the crowd, the noise, the dance.

Then, after some Ehn I saw another girl leave the circle of the dance, and she, too, was joined beyond the firelight by a young man and she, too, felt a net dropped over her, and she, too, was led away, his willing prize to the secrecy of his hut.

The dance grew more frenzied.

The girls whirled and writhed, and the crowd clapped and shouted, and the music grew ever more wild, barbaric, and fantastic.

And suddenly Telima danced before me.

I cried out, so startled was I by her beauty.

It seemed to me that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and before me, only slave, she danced her insolence and scorn. Her hands were over her head and, as she danced, she smiled, regarding me. She cut me with her beauty more painfully, more cruelly, than might have the knives of a torturer. It was her scorn, her contempt for me she danced. In me she aroused agonies of desire but in her eyes I read that I was but the object of her amusement and contempt.

And then she unbound me.

“Go to the hut,” she said.

I stood there at the pole.

Torrents of barbaric music swept about us, and there was the clapping and shouting, and the turning, and the twisting and swirling of rence girls, the passion of the dance burning in their bodies.

“Yes,” she said. “I own you.”

She spat up into my face.

“Go to the hut,” she said.

Raider’s of Gor

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