What emotion do those words trigger in you? Joy? Trepidation? Terror?
On Saturday night, Prez and I went to a Halloween dance. I have not gone out dancing in a very long time. It’s been even longer since I went out to a Halloween party but that has more to do with my hopeless wandering lifestyle than my preference. My recent lack of dancing is something else completely.
I love to dance. LOVE. TO. DANCE. I am not an excellent dancer but I don’t care. Something about moving my body to music has always put me in this weird trance-like state where I instantly stop caring what anyone thinks of me.
I have seen photos of myself mid-dance. Yikes! If ever there is a time in my life when I should be self-conscious it is on the dance floor. And yet, for whatever reason, dancing makes my confidence bulletproof.
If I was more unpacked, I could share pages of awkward dance photos with you but you’ll have to accept a small sampling of that collection for now.
Unlike many, I require no special occasion to put on my-my-my-my boogie shoes. Prez will tell you that I frequently host my own solo dance parties and cut a rug between washing dishes or cooking dinner. My friends will tell you about my devilish alter-ego, Sheba, Dancing Queen of the Desert, who has been known to dance until she has sand embedded into her bare feet.
When I consider how good dancing makes me feel—physically and emotionally—I am stymied by our dance-averse culture. Yes, we like to watch talented people dance, and we’re not opposed to dance as an “idea” but the vast majority of North Americans—primarily white North Americans, if I am honest—need a heavy dose of liquid “dance enhancer” before they will step out on a public dance floor.
Once we get there, once we are shaking our tail feathers, we become euphoric. Dance does something to us that no other type of movement can do. Dance is release. Dance is physical storytelling. Dance is primitive and tribal. Dance is language.
So why do we hesitate? Who has made us feel shame for dancing?
It’s true few of us actually look good while we’re dancing but that’s not the point. Few of us look good during the act of sex but that doesn’t stop us, does it?
I haven’t been able to dance for a while now. My feet have been turned to stone, my arms to lead. Dance requires a sense of abandonment I have not possessed lately. I wondered how long it would be until the weight would lift but there were more important things to worry about than dancing.
But then, friends Amy and Derek invited us out to a Halloween party at one of the local pubs. Sis-in-law Becky drove up from Qualicum to join us along with Amy’s parents and we were officially a party.
Saturday night I got up on the dance floor in my Princess Leia costume and shook my buns…both sets. I did the Time Warp and laughed as Prez and I performed our best “pelvic thrust”. I came home thoroughly satisfied (and a little tipsy). And guess what? I had fun. For a few glorious hours all the accumulated stress and sadness of the past year fell away and I was just arms and legs leaping and waving spasmodically. Dance is sweet oblivion.
So the next time you see a dance floor, or the next time you’re home and a good song comes on, why not indulge? Get up from your chair, forget how you look, forget about the collected woes of the world, forget about the shame someone else has placed on you, and just…dance.
Let’s get over ourselves. While we can jitterbug and do the Electric Slide, let us do so. Let us join the tribe and tell our story. Let us put on our red shoes and dance the blues away.
Let us, to quote the philosopher Swift, shake it off.