“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair”, said Susan Polis Shutz. It may sound a bit hippy-dippy, but doesn’t that sound like fun? For someone who loves to dance, I don’t seem to do a lot of it these days, until my friends come to visit me from the UK, that is. Somehow we always seem to end up cranking up the sound system and letting it all hang out to “Boogie Wonderland”! There’s no stopping us!
My first formal experience with dance was about age five when my mother took my little sister and me to have ballet lessons. This was not a Billy Elliot moment. Although I enjoyed the exercises and posing, I didn’t much like the discipline of having to remember the steps to the routines and it didn’t develop into a passion.
At junior school the only dancing we did was ‘country dancing’. This boisterous activity, which consisted of flinging ourselves around the floor in a kind of organised chaos took place in the gymnasium on rainy days (of which there were many). The idea was to rid us of excess energy and it was a lot of fun. If someone organised an activity like this around here I would surely join in!
Saturday Night Fever and disco were sensations in the seventies, and as a teenager my life seemed to revolve around music, discotheques and, of course boys… probably in that order. We didn’t need drugs or alcohol. We didn’t really need the boys, either. All we needed was a few flashing lights and some very loud music (preferably Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire or the Bee Gees) and we would be on that floor showing off our moves (wearing stilettoes I’ll have you know) until we were forced off the dance floor when they switched on the bright lights at closing time.
In the eighties, when disco more or less died to be replaced by electronic music and punk rock, my will to dance gradually fizzled away. I wanted to dance, not jump up and down and spit or flail about like a robot. Ever since, my life has been punctuated only by brief moments of frenetic movement at aerobics classes, jazz dance lessons and too many humiliating evenings flapping my elbows and waggling my behind to the Birdie Song as a tourist rep in Mallorca.
Will life pass me by without waltzing under the moonlight? Will I never learn to salsa or cha-cha-cha? Perhaps I should sign up for some classes at the local town hall? For now, I’ll keep watching Dancing with the Stars and dream about what could have been if only I had kept up those ballet lessons.