When I was in the sixth grade, I choreographed a dance to Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’.
I was not a trained dancer, not a single lesson that I call recall. I knew nothing about dance and still, I was a dancer. I was moved by music, literally and completely, and so I danced… from the inside. I danced quietly in my bedroom, where no one could see me.
Then, for some reason I don’t really recall, I showed someone my dance. It must have been an accident that they saw me because by sixth grade I was no longer the I’m-going-to-put-on-a-show type, but they asked what I was doing, and so I showed them my dance.
This person laughed at me. It wasn’t in the awful, mocking way that kids sometimes do. This was just amusement at my playfulness, a ‘silly girl’ sort of affirmation that I was goofing off and having a good time. I was not teased or discouraged. The witness meant no harm, I’m certain of that.
I stopped dancing that day.
Much later, in my late teens and early twenties, I spent some time in clubs and bars. I danced but it was, I was… profoundly restrained. I was that girl, the one you can see feels the music in her bones. She is the music but she barely moves. I’ve seen that girl before. I am not the only one.
I always stayed small on the dance floor, no risks. Never again.
The need to dance aches in me every day. When I’m alone in the car and I turn the music up loud, I can see the dance in my mind. I don’t know how to explain it… the music makes the body move. It’s cause and effect. It can’t be stopped, like gravity and death, and the little girl in my head who won’t take no for an answer.
She dances inside me. I watch and marvel, and pine to move my body as she does.
It was late on day two and I felt tired, too tired to Zumba again. There was no class to go to, or dvd dance instructor to guide me, and I no longer remember any routines. I turned off all of the lights, retreated to my bedroom, and there I found a wide open space. It reminded me of the bedroom from twenty-five years ago, where I last danced my own dance.
I turned on the song that plays every morning to wake me up, U2′s ‘All I Want Is You’… and I danced, as they say, like no one was watching. I played that same song three times to make the 20 minutes and I moved my body like I knew what I was doing. I experienced a wild range of emotions, mostly beautiful, with a few ego sightings that faded when I refused to stop dancing. My heart was pounding. I felt breathless and alive. (I even produced the tiniest little bit of perspiration!)
The little girl inside and I were both very, very happy. Day two… complete.