I love to dance.
I just wish I was good at it.
Maybe because I was raised in a Baptist church that forbade dancing, or that I didn’t get to take the dance classes most little girls did.
Like every child in the ‘60s, I practiced “The Twist,” “Mashed Potato,” “The Pony,” “The Jerk” – in front of our black-and-white, then color televisions. My neighborhood friends and I would watch “American Bandstand,” “Hulabaloo” and “Where the Action Is” and act like we were as cool as the persons actually dancing on the show.
I learned to slow dance at a different religion’s church camp.
My first real dance was sponsored by our Pep Club, and the girls had to ask the boy for a date. I did it and learned a lifelong lesson that it is hard to ask someone out. It taught me to be gentle when a boy asked me out.
Still, the dances in the ‘60s were simple to do. My first Waterloo was Disco’s “The Hustle.”
I watched feet, I had people try to teach me, I secretly practiced, but my brain and feet refused to communicate. I did however, learn “The Car Wash” whose name was changed to the more familiar “Electric Slide.”
In my mid-to-late 20s I found a beginning ballet class for adults. I loved all the barre work and I was still scarily flexible so I found something I could do, do well and it was good for me. It was the one time I got close to having an athlete’s body.
It was in ballet class I learned a lot of cowboy line dances and found another dance that doesn’t compute in my mind.
It’s the waltz. Yes I know you count to three, but how do you know which way your head turns, which direction to go to avoid people? It seems like it happens so fast that I quit in frustration.
I do know how to two-step, the dance of choice at Cowboy bars. Kevin and I did a credible job when we were in The Kings of Leon music video of “Beautiful War.” We weren’t going to win awards, but we had so much fun dancing.
The only time – and I mean the only time – I ever look good on a dance floor is if I’m dancing with my younger brother Shannon. On the dance floor at his favorite Cowboy hangout, he can spin me, we can turn on a dime, our style is good. I would like to dance with him all night, but his wife and my lovely sister-in-law Paulette would have something to say. They have won dance contests over the years and they make anything they do look easy.
Not being good at dancing never stopped me. I stood up and danced at concerts, at meetings and seminars that had events somewhere with a dance floor. I seat dance in my car when certain songs come on, and sitting on the sofa in the living room watching musical performances. I loved the dances that came with New Wave, like “The Pogo” because I could still jump up and down.
I will even admit I was a big fan of “The Macarena” because it was simply fun to do. I learned that dance on a cruise ship and know several different versions of the now tacky routine.
If I add my bad balance into the mix, I am doomed. I have fallen on more than one dance floor and been sober nearly every time. If you also add my ratty spine in, I can last about five minutes before I sit down for the night.
I would have danced a lot more but unfortunately I spent most of my life watching from the sidelines because I wasn’t the type of girl boys asked to dance. (It made the fact I couldn’t really dance anyway that much harder to take. That however, is a story for another blog).
Kevin and I watch “Dancing With the Stars” now and I feel for the contestants who must go home because of back or joint issues. I watch the dances get harder every week and I admire those people who do all those complicated steps, sometimes backwards and in high heels (to quote Ginger Rogers).
I envy you, and I salute all you folks with tapping toes and the moves to back it up.