Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And I Dance Anyway

I have a very sad history as a dancer. No formal training, you'd pick up on that right away, and just enough negative feedback to impress upon me that I shouldn't be doing it at all. Still I am inclined frequently to "bust a move" right in front of the sliding glass door, in full view of the world. Recently, I danced at a wedding.

My first dancing incident was in the sixth grade at a friend's birthday party. I think of this as my Chicken Dance catastrophe. The Chicken Dance was created for people who can't dance. Ninety-year old women and people on roller skates can do it. I survived the beginning parts: flopping hands, flap the wings, little twist. Then the party goers joined hands and began to rapidly spin around in a ring around the rosie fashion. My coordination is still a mess, but during growth spurts of adolescence and in the confinement of my scoliosis brace - not good. I began to fall at the beginning of a row of empty folding chairs which collapsed like dominoes. The momentum carried me all the way to the lap of a boy who wasn't dancing. He just happened to be the sixth grade man of my dreams.

Fast forward to senior year in high school, still trying. I had two close friends. We would go to the home football games and the dance afterward. As a joke we would dance in our little triangle (much like big groups of people dance in a circle) and one of us would jump in the middle and shout, "we're a straight line." It was fun.

My high school dancing seemed to escape scrutiny (I managed to stay upright), until the senior class awards were listed. I was voted McGuffey's #2 worst dancer. Yikes. That bad?

Two points have struck me about this over the years. First, I wasn't even popular enough to win the title of worst dancer. Second, it was a last ditch effort to destroy all remaining confidence in what I thought was some blossoming dance-ability.

Now at a comfortable in my own skin age of 29, I dance frequently with my little girl. She has a whole month of jazz/tap/ballet training and has endeavored to teach me and my husband things like first position, a heel/toe move, and something called "Suzie Q". Her moves are getting much better since she's been in dance class. I think she'll have me whipped into shape in no time.