This past weekend I went to a beautiful and enjoyable wedding. A few hours in, I was dancing energetically to “Shippin’ up to Boston” in crazy platform heels, having a blast. As I danced I thought about how much I have learned from always being the first on the dance floor, and from often being the wildest.
Despite a distinct lack of talent I am often possessed by the boogie monster, dancing around at the copy machine, at the post office, in line at the grocery store. I long ago learned to give in to my love of motion, and I’m glad I did. Turns out I had a lot to learn.
Dancing is just moving how you want to move.
I will never forget the day my mother told me that she’d had a revelation. “Margaret, I figured something out. Dancing is just moving how you want to move!” And then she moved how she wanted to move all over the kitchen.
I had already begun to establish my reputation as a most energetic dancer (more on that later). The more I danced, the less I cared whether my dancing resembled any sort of choreography or polished moves. I was just moving how I wanted to move. My joy was complete when at a family wedding a few months later my mother was out there with me, moving how she wanted to move.
— 2 —
Circles are safe, but constellations are more fun.
You know the party is bumping when everyone is standing on a circle on the dance floor, awkwardly shifting weight from one foot to the other and low-clapping along to the music. When you’re in one of those circles, it’s pretty safe. The people near you aren’t looking at you, and if you’re lucky some fool will go in the middle and give you someone to laugh at.
This can be fun with the right groups, but I much prefer my dancing sprinkled around the dance floor like a constellation of stars. Turn one way, and you’re sharing a boogie with the mother of the bride. Pivot in another direction and you can sashay up to an old friend. You might feel more exposed, but you’re also more connected.
Haters gonna hate.
There will always be someone laughing at you if you dare to go all in. Dance big anyway. (Didn’t Mother Teresa say that?)
It’s better to be looked over than over looked.
Maybe this is my natural extroversion coming out, but I think that being noticed is much better than blending in. So when people approach me to tell me that they have noticed my dancing (never to say it was good, just that they’ve noticed it) I am happy to thank them graciously and move on.
Having a reputation isn’t so bad.
So I’m a little shameless? Big deal. If managed unwisely, shamelessness can have notable downsides. Onn the bright side, I’m the person who gets invited to try the fitness class that no other friend would try, who is gifted with scarves so loud that only I would be willing to wear them, and who is the first one urged out on the dance floor.
Better exhausted in the evening than bored all day.
Speaking of shame, shame on me if I go out and don’t come home with sore legs and feet. It’s worth a little pain to have the excitement of interacting with people all night.
This axiom has become a guiding principle of my life. I am often exhausted in the evening, because I say yes to many things, because I love many things, because I’m addicted to the hustle. I infinitely prefer a slightly manic life to placidity.
All you need to be is confident.
This is the most important lesson of all, worth every snide comment, every sore foot, even a few injuries: go out there and dance like you mean it, and the world will dance with you. The second you start to worry what you look like, in life and in recreational dancing, is the second it all goes to hell.
So dance like it’s what you were born to do. It very well may be.
What have you learned from dancing? Are there other activities from which you’ve learned similar lessons?
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Nothing makes a wedding more enjoyable as a guest, then to dance your butt off! The best weddings I have been too haven’t been great because of food, or decor, it’s been a good time because I danced all night long! I’m a shy and slightly resevered person, pretty quiet most of the time too, but get me on a dance floor and I break out! It surprises most people when they see it for the first time, which is always hilarious to me. They are blown away that this quiet little lady is a dancing machine. It gets other people dancing, and I don’t stop until they are closing down for the night. I guess this is a side of my that usually only my family and very close friends see, except for when I dance….maybe I should take a dance class or something, and try to get that person to come out a little more around others.
It sounds like you’re a fun guest to have at a wedding or a party!
I love this ! Thank you
Keep on boogie-ing!
Ha! A rich and wonderful side to you that we learn about today. My wife is the same way. Quiet and very unassuming (from her Flemish family and Northern French roots). but put her on a dance floor and she will stay there all night. I think it allows her to enjoy herself.
So, have fun and dance. God loves a cheerful dancer.
Ya know….we had all my little nieces and nephews at my wedding. The owner of the establishment tried to talk us out of it and suggested that they might ruin the event, but I told him I was not going to have my wedding without all the children I loved. And of course, THEY were the first ones on the dance floor and a free invitation to anyone who wanted to to get up and join them. And people, including the proprietor, thought it was awesome. I really think that people want someone to get up there and “invite” them to enjoy themselves. if people stare or comment clearly they have their own problems with appreciating the finer things in life. So personally I think it always come back to our instruction to ” be like little children.” We are supposed to be free and joyous and move when the Spirit calls us to move! My best memories of my wedding will always be that people danced and celebrated and loved it. And I thank my favorite little dancing feet for inspiring that :).
What a sweet story! I bet the kids will be horrified by that when they are older. I’m gonna dance when the Spirit says dance…
Oh, how I love this! My friends count on me to get the dance party started at their weddings and I happily comply. I don’t care how I look. I’m just out there having fun! I think that encourages other people to join in, as well. I’m also proud that I’ve been able to drag my “I hate dancing!” boy cousins and guy friends out on the dance floor. No one can resist my invitation for long. 🙂
I think other people find it liberating when someone is going all out. They don’t have to worry about being the goofiest person on the floor if I am already clearly filling that role.
I loved this! My mom and I regularly move how we want to move in our kitchen (and I’ve been caught at the copy machine, too!) – thank you for inspiring me to dance crazy this weekend!
Yes! Dance it out.
I hate to dance. I told the DJ this for our wedding, just do whatever to get who want to dance to dance.
I’m sure your guests were very grateful!
Christina Rogers says
People at work have been commenting a lot lately about how I’m always dancing around the room. As I explained to the parent of one of my kiddos today, if we’re not dancing and singing, what’s the point? I’m also lucky that often when I turn on some music and start dancing, I quickly get a small crowd of toddlers to join in. On a side note, I’m no longer allowed to attempt certain dance moves around Bridget because every time I try, I kick her. Oops.
Dancing is for people with nothing better to do. It’s confusing, humiliating, and nearly as much fun as a root canal. I’m so grateful that I’ve never been to a wedding where some hyperactive female tried to get me to dance. In fact, I’ve never seen dancing at a wedding. When did that start?
amy parmenter says
Dancing is good for my soul. It’s freeing. And joyful. And, the best part, my husband loves to dance as well. So our souls can dance together! We never feel the need to wait for a wedding though. Sometimes it’s just a spontaneous moment at home…
Margaret Felice says
How wonderful! I have been so happy to find dancing to be something freeing rather than stressful; I’m glad you and your husband enjoy the same feeling!
Always loved to danced. In the old days my parents would go square dancing and one time my grandparents were to keep on eye on me . I was three years old at the time.Somhow my mother tells me there I was dancing in the middle of the floor. Did a lot of dancing in my life. My husband and I took ballroom dancing . We were just starting to be great dancers when arthritis struck. That was the end of our dancing. Every change you have DANCE you never know what will happen