I hated dancing as a kid. Hated it! I hated my mom forcing me onto the dance floor at family parties. I hated feeling so self-concious, for all the right reasons, because I was embarrasingly bad. In elementary school, I took ballet, jazz, and tap dance lessons with my sisters. I liked learning all the dance moves and all the routines. It was a memorization game to me: learn and execute the moves. “Execute” is not the proper mentality of a ballerina. It is no big surprise that my delivery of movements did not compare to Leah’s graceful dance forms. During performances, I would always be placed in front of Leah on stage. While I knew all the dance steps in the correct sequence, she was the one who knew how to dance. Even in the wrong order, Leah glided and swayed and tapped and twirled across the stage, behind my awkward, lifeless movements.
These days, Leah still blows me out of the water, but I think I can hold my own on the dance floor. I saw her this weekend and told her I needed some new moves. For once, the new guy I’m dating actually has rhythm, and his ability to dance means I need to up my game. Actually, he and I met on the dance floor at Sutra, my favorite dancespot in Atlanta. I think we do okay together, though, especially since he’s almost a foot taller than I am. Where we really shine is in not caring what other people think. Being able to pull a man onto the dance floor is one thing. Pulling him onto an empty dance floor is another thing. We danced like the whole floor was reserved for us alone. Needless to say, he passed with flying colors.
A few nights ago, I had another spontaneous urge to slow dance. We were sitting in his parked car, listening to music. “Right now? Here?” he replied. I smiled and nodded and exited the car. As we danced in a dark, quiet parking lot, I told him how I was sitting next to a grandpa outside a store in Orlando. I thought to myself how nice it was for him to accompany his old lady. A few minutes later, a cute elderly woman came out of the store with a shopping bag, and he asked her intently about her purchases instead of whining or grumbling. The old man was winning points from me. A few minutes later, he rose from the bench. The street musicians had started a new tune. He held out his hand and asked her to dance. Amid a bustling plaza of shoppers, strollers, and unruly kids, these two had created a bubble of inner peace. In that moment, it was just the two of them. Just like in the movies. The man noticed that I had walked away and apologized for scaring me off. I put my hand to my heart and told them how wonderful it was to witness their loving moment. I walked away feeling all warm and fuzzy.