Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today I Danced

While reading email, I flipped on music. Once in a while, I buy music to download. Everything from classical to alternative rings out from the music library on my computer. Most of the time it provides background music to the steady sound of keyboard tappings. Once in a while, I listen just for the sake of listening, but today I danced.

It was a childhood dream to dance. With my nose pressed against a cold window, I looked past the posters of girls dressed in flounces of tulle, crossing long satin ribbons around slender legs and into the bright room with bars on the side. Inside, over there girls in pink leotards lined up. In an instant, I was among them waiting to twirl on toes and fly across the room with the grace of a swan gliding over water. A voice called me back, but the dream stayed with me. Walking to school, walking to the post office, took me passed the ballet studio and created a wistful little girl that just wanted to learn to dance on her toes.

I never stretched at the bar inside the studio, but there was dancing in the living room in front of a big mirror that sat over the sofa. My sister and I watched ourselves flit about the room in made up dances like the Grecian Urn. Touching raised hands we’d stand on one foot, extending the other outward, pointing toes in an awkward stance. One of us would announce, “One Grecian Urn,” and we’d quickly move into a new pose. The theatrics usually ended in a heap on the floor, arms and legs akimbo with little girl giggles swirling about the room. 

Then came the Charleston. I don’t remember who taught us to do the Charleston, but we did it and loved it. We needed no music to kick our feet to the left and then right, hopping from one side to the other, arms bent at the elbows and jazz hands mirroring feet. We became the Charleston dancing sisters at family events when my mom would say, “Girls, show everyone how you dance the Charleston.” After a few moments of uncertainty and pink faces, we’d jump up and start dancing. My Grandpa B loved it and would applaud our childish efforts with a broad grin.

Then came learning to jitterbug. Nancy and I danced the jitterbug, the twist, and any other dance we could learn through the wonder of television. We spent hours in our bedroom dancing in big sister Bev’s frothy, gathered underskirts. Pretending to be the dancers from the One O’clock movies that played Ginger Rogers floating on air with Fred Astaire or Audrey Hepburn in tight, cropped pants snapping her fingers to jazz, man, jazz.

Though my childhood has long since passed, I still dream of dancing and once in a while the music overwhelms me and I dance, like this morning. As the piano banged out syncopation with a bass emphasizing the beat, my foot began to tap to the rhythm of The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Once the tempo takes hold, it’s hard to deny the shoulders that need to roll to the left and then the right. The next thing I knew, I was up and moving my feet. With arms raised, I nodded my head; snapping my fingers as hips swayed to piano runs, rim shots, and whispers of “That’s just the way it is…”

For a few minutes, I lost myself in a moment of musical movement. It’s that place I go when no one is watching where I exist alone with the music and body moving with wild abandon and childish glee. That place that if anyone caught me, I’d drop into the chair, flash a sheepish smile, and go back to emailing while my face turned pink and my ears hot. This morning no one was here to stop me from dancing around the room like a little girl, smiling…feet moving…happy.

The next song began playing and let’s face it… dancing alone to Springsteen’s Secret Garden just doesn’t work. That song requires two people, someone to lead and someone to follow. It’s a slow sensual dance of rocking together while holding each other tight enough that the beat of hearts beneath skin and bone become part of the rhythm. The spell broken... I went back to email.


She Writes said...

I have danced such a dance myself!

T Opdycke said...

Amy...thank you for visiting my brand spanking new blog. It is wonderful to let go and dance as if you were all alone in the world, for just those few moments. It's liberating!

Kiki said...

Congrats on your new creational space..! Keep are fantastic. Wonderful have set the fires of dance alive..and freedom within!

Maryjo said...

A dance like that is pure joy!

Tammy said...

You have such a wonderfully flowing,and romantic way of writing. Loved the article.

T Opdycke said...

Kiki..thank you for your kind words and enthusiasm. You're so right, dancing with wild abandon feels liberating.

Mary Jo...It is indeed pure joy. Thanks for stopping by.

Tammy...thank you for stopping by and thank you for your thoughtful comments.