I have danced all through my childhood and far into my teens. I danced ballet as a toddler, step dance as a preteen and ballroom dance as a teenager. I stopped dancing when I grew tired of the endless competitions that were tightly interwoven with ballroom dancing. So I quit and was forced to succumb to dancing in my tiny room after school.
For as long as I remember I have used dancing as a tool to go through big emotions. Whenever I felt sad, depressed or excited, I would rush into my room and dance my heart out. Still today, the only way for me to release psychological tension is by turning on the volume and dancing my angst away.
I didn’t realise how much I missed dancing (outside confined small bedrooms) until I stumbled upon a group of people dancing lindy hop in the park. All the dancers had stupid smiles on their sweaty faces and the dance looked so fun yet elegant. AND they were dancing to the old swing classics I adore to listen to.
I knew in that instant that I had to learn that dance and enrolled on a lindy hop beginners course. And as I started swinging away, I suddenly found myself dancing salsa on Sundays, buying step shoes, searching for flamenco festival tickets and listening to Argentinian tango music. As if a gateway had opened, I can’t stop dancing!
I am so proud of myself for making my dream come true: this week I was one of the dancers on that same stage in that same park. The word that I repeated in my mind as I danced on that wooden platform was alive. I remember thinking: This is what being alive means.
’tain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it
As I get older, I am always surprised to learn that some people don’t have to dance when they feel strongly. Or that other people don’t dance at home. Or anywhere, in fact. I never have identified myself as a dancer, but looking back, I realise that dance has been a core component in my life – and always will be.