For a while I thought I had only discovered dancing within the last six years. Actually, I rediscovered dancing, but in a new form. Like a lot of young girls, I learned tap, jazz and ballet by taking classes. My mother, who loved to dance, taught me how to jitterbug in the living room, along with other styles of more formal dances. Those were very fond memories and I still remember the “moves” she taught me. She said it was important to just flow and let your partner lead you. She was an awesome follow partner, making the dance look graceful and easy. It wasn’t until many years later that I bridged the gap between those precious lessons in the living room to the ballroom dance floor I now learn and dance on.
There were dances in high school (prom), where you simply moved your body to the rhythm of the music. Partner dances seemed awkward since most teens had no formal training. The ever popular “sway” was what most people did for the slow dances. Then there was simply freestyle dancing at clubs, parties or when hanging out.
“There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them.”
– Vicki Baum
Dancing is a universal language that needs few or no words. When you hear music that moves you (sound can be a very personal thing), you jump up and begin to speak using your body as the voice. When someone is lost in their dance, others will stop and witness because they can tell a story is being told, and we all love a good story. Dance brings people together. It is a great form of expression, release and exercise.
Fast forward past the days of dancing at clubs, and in the living room, having children of my own and “play dancing” with them as babes, to attending a Junior Cotillion dance with my oldest son who learned some formal steps and danced in glamorous attire with his mom. Along the way there were moments when dance was mentioned from friends, clients or simply seeing an advertisement. So, my husband and I ventured out and took some lessons at National Dance Club in Murfreesboro. We felt awkward but enjoyed doing something different. We were unable to join their program at that time but never forgot the experience. Then, several years after that I became friends with Becky and Steve Lanham, the owners of Dance Murfreesboro.
Becky and Steve often talked about their dance studio and all the things they did there. I saw posts on social media about their activities. We were invited many times to come and hang out at their dance studio. It wasn’t until my husband was out of town one Halloween and Becky invited me (again) to stop by their studio as they were having a party. Wow! I saw all those people moving so gracefully and beautifully on the floor and thought “I want to look like that!” I got my husband and two sons to take group lessons with me. I quickly found a love for dance which helped me enjoy life beyond my work, which often seemed all consuming.
“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.” – Mata Hari
Fast forward again, six years later, to a showcase event that is meant to allow students the opportunity to create a dance routine and perform it for family, friends and the community. My friend Becky found a way to share more of this with others by making the showcase a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association that supports the caregivers of those meeting the needs of patients affected by this disease. Dance is very personal, as are causes that people support.
This year I was able to perform with my friend and dance partner, Steve. It was certainly a culmination of learning, practicing, working through frustrations, doubts and fears that enabled us to feel good about the efforts and remember the reason for doing it in the first place was simply the love of dancing, creating and expressing.
Dance has no limitations except for the ones you place on yourself. You can embody movement in unlimited ways . . . seeing it in your mind, tapping your fingers and toes, to grand, full-body gestures. I have witnessed many dances of varying degrees of skill, style and age. One thing always noticeable was the expressions of joy on their faces when they were lost in the dance.
“Dance enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.”
– Peter Townsend
Find what moves you and go get lost in it, at least for a few hours a week. There is a dancer inside of you, me and everyone. If you need some motivation, you now know of a place that can inspire your inner dancer to move!