Dancing With Myself (and many others along the way)
Whenever my aunt babysat my sister and I, she ingrained one very important truth into our young and impressionable brains: every problem disappears when you dance. Now my dancing skills locate somewhere in-between a father at a parent chaperoned dance and the toddler portion of the recital; however, before facing any problem in my life my initial reaction is to dance furiously around my house. My schedule consists mainly of school and a sport, and while I dedicate most time to sharpening skills for both, when I blare Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself” in my bedroom, I do it for joy not for improving my technique. After discovering the therapeutic elements of jumping around to the rhythm of a song, my theory regarding music and dancing has developed subsequently. I believe dancing helps heal the soul, distract the mind, and connect people on a deeper and nonverbal level. Quite a few instances have fueled my theory:
Instance One: At the age of three, I set the goal to perfectly impersonate the dance number from “An Extremely Goofie Movie” with my grandfather. Every visit we practiced the disco perfecting every turn and step. This past September, my grandfather turned seventy, and the family held a surprise birthday at his community. While out one night, the live music played the song we listened to for months on end, whether on purpose or coincidence, I never asked. My grandfather started to suffer from minor dementia a few years ago, however, after the first few chords he was up on his feet inviting me to partake in our infamous rendition to the disco. I then realized he might forget which grandchild I am or when my birthday occurred, but he holds onto the countless hours of jumping along and as the song so happily puts it “shaking our groove things”.
Instance Two: Competitive sports require a tremendous amount of traveling back and forth across the state, providing ample time to worry about the competition. Although an odd tradition, an impromptu concert in the back seat of the car proved the best method to keep nerves at bay. My lip sync skills now rank among the professionals, along with my interpretive dance moves, and the nerves dissipate while I fake bow after my second encore. Despite the odd looks from cars who witness my classic interpretation of the air guitar, the car dance party has not only kept my mind at peace, but helped improve my attitude going into a game setting.
Instance Three: After countless hours of emotional conversations and excessive cleaning, the only solution to aiding a friend over a break up seemed simple: dress fancy and dance like the independent and single women we are. Prom offered the perfect opportunity; we helped each other with hair and heels, and then danced to every song of the night, partnering up for slow and dramatic numbers. I forget what songs played and who wore what, but I clearly remember how for a few hours my best friend seemed happy and carefree, a vast difference from the previous day. In those short hours, she let the atmosphere and, may I say, horrendous dancing fill her soul and enlighten her existence back to the joyous person she always has been. The night assisted in her healing process, encouraging her to move past the sluggish affects of a broken heart and dance to the beat of a single and powerful drum.
I’ve witnessed complete strangers bond over one song at a concert, and couples married for decades always dance to “their” song. People do a “happy dance” when celebrating a promotion or victory, couples at weddings have their “first dance”, and many songs revere the simple motions performed everyday. Whether done professionally or to just clear your mind for three minutes, I firmly believe to dance like no one is watching, even if they are watching, and you look like a total twat.