Saturday, February 13, 2010

Can you dance?

On a Saturday afternoon in April, 1982, I was exuberant. My job's busy season had just ended and in a few weeks I would be moving back to the great State of Texas. Words could not express my jubilance. What to do? I put on my cowboy hat and an "Asleep at the Wheel" album and danced around my apartment to the country swing music. Now I am not a dancer in the modern sense of the word. I stomped and swayed and spun and swung my arms to the music played as loudly as our downstairs neighbors would stand it.

I still dance. In times of joy I step and clap around my home office, moving in time to the music of my mood. In times of sweetness I may sway and two-step with a real or remembered baby in my arms. In the car I may crank up the volume and use the steering wheel as my tambourine.

These displays are almost always private, though. It's not that I have any pride in the matter, I just don't want to cause unnecessary concern that I may have truly lost my mind. I could not explain my compulsion, but I knew I was normal.

I confirmed it last night while watching the opening ceremonies to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Part of the ceremonies featured aboriginal dancers. A video clip of those dancers is not available, but I found a substitute (without the elaborate costumes and props) that works.

While watching the Olympic dancers, I realized where I get it from, that need to express myself through motion. Our human nature is hard wired that way. Whether clumsy or graceful, we all can dance. Never mind the reality TV shows which would answer "no."

If you think about it, many celebrations and happy events have choreography.

Envision your favorite sports event. The team huddles with linked arms and chants, perhaps raising hands to the sky. There are fist bumps and chest bumps and flips and struts in moments of success. The involved fan may explode from his seat to warpath around the room after a significant victory.

Graduations, christenings and weddings have their promenades and partner exchanges and kneelings and risings and turnings. Each ceremony incorporates movement into its rituals, because our human nature says there are times we simply can not be still.

So don't be still. Dancing isn't just for the young or the talented. It doesn't have to be pretty or make sense. Soon enough you'll only be able to shuffle along anyway, so why not dance as long as you can?

And the next time you see a grown-up, someone who should "know better," skipping or twirling down the sidewalk, don't turn up your nose at the weirdo. Instead, share a smile and a wave and a hop. You can dance.


Life in the Fifties said...

This post gets a "technology" tag because it has my first embedded video!

JEnnifer said...

I have a dance and a song in my heart at all times and am willing and able to bust a move at any time!