“At Padovani Beach the dance hall is open every day. And in that huge rectangular box with its entire side open to the sea, the poor young people of the neighborhood dance until evening. Often I used to await there a moment of exceptional beauty. During the day the hall is protected by sloping wooden awnings. When the sun goes down they are raised. Then the hall is filled with an odd green light born of the double shell of the sky and the sea. When one is seated far from the windows, one sees only the sky and, silhouetted against it, the faces of the dancers passing in succession. Sometimes a waltz is being played, and against the green background the black profiles whirl obstinately like those cut-out silhouettes that are attached to a phonograph’s turntable. Night comes rapidly after this, and with it the lights. But I am unable to relate the thrill and secrecy that subtle instant holds for me. I recall at least a magnificent tall girl who had danced all afternoon. She was wearing a jasmine garland on her bright blue dress, wet with perspiration from the small of her back to her legs. She was laughing as she danced and throwing back her head. As she passed the tables, she left behind her a mingled scent of flowers and flesh. When evening came, I could no longer see her body pressed tight to her partner, but against her body alternating spots of white jasmine and black hair, and when she would throw back her swelling breast I would hear her laugh and see her partner’s profile suddenly plunge forward. I owe to such evenings the idea I have of innocence. In any case, I learn not to separate these creatures bursting with violent energy from the sky where their desires whirl.”

― Albert Camus, Summer in Algiers

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