In the last few years, I’ve been called out more than once for not joining the crowd on the dance floor at events. My co-workers and friends are dancing machines, but my brain and body revolt no matter how much the music moves me. My two left feet and my traumatized brain paralyze me to my seat or send me scurrying away to hide from the beckoning movers and shakers on the dance floor.
Little do they know (well – some of my friends know) that I used to bust a move with the best of ’em back in the day. I loved going to weddings just for the dance party! You could get a couple drinks in me and my uncoordinated hip and arm movements were transformed into a wannabe J-Lo. The same thing would happen at bars as soon as the DJ started playing any current hip hop or 80’s/90’s hair band music. (Poison, Bon Jovi, G&R got me moving every time!) I didn’t care how bad my uncoordinated and klutzy white girl moves were – I owned it.
The best part of all the wedding dances and bar dance floors was having a partner in crime who actually did know how to dance. My late husband, Todd, was an amazing dancer. He truly owned it and could spin his partner around the floor to any kind of music. When he danced with you it was like no one else was in the room even when he had you jamming out in the middle of a circle of cheering onlookers.
His signature shoulder bop was the first indication that a serious dancing session was impending. It usually set in after a few drinks just as the band or DJ was getting started. Oh the good old days. Poor Todd had to deal with my awful dancing – but he tried his damnedest to get me out of my shell. And I tried my damnedest to get my two left feet to move how my brain envisioned me moving which was no less than Madonna, the state champion Montevideo Gold Duster dance line and my fearless friends all rolled into one. (Check out the pic from our wedding – he was really whipping me around!)
So the short and simple truth is that I don’t dance in public very often anymore because my inspiration to dance is gone. Every song reminds me of Todd. Every great dancer reminds me of him. Every bad dancer reminds me how bad I am without him to encourage me and reassure me it’s okay to embrace my klutzy moves.
I know, I know – just go for it and let the music move me. But until I have another partner in crime to take the attention off my Lawnmower , Bus Driver, Robot and Roger Rabbit, I prefer to watch from the sidelines and save my “special” moves for the ones I love – and for those who will love me bad dance moves and all.
Until then, I salute you dynamos of the dance floor – and I beg of you to not pass judgement as I shoulder bop awkwardly and watch creepily from my chair placed just close enough to hear and see the action but not too close where I can be unwillingly dragged into a Conga line.
Brooke and I have a lot of dance parties – and at age six she isn’t shy about telling me how bad and funny my dancing is – so apparently my skills haven’t improved. Did someone say Chicken Dance!?