man and woman swing dancing

Swinging with dance instructor Nate.

Today just happens to be my birthday and what better way to celebrate than to talk about my favorite thing: the pleasure of dancing. Whether it’s in a formal class or my own living room, the urge to boogie is good for my body and soul because frowning and dancing never go together!

My husband doesn’t feel the music like I do, but happily sends me off every week to dance my heart out. He knows this is MY sport and, as a golfer, knows the feeling well. Bodies are built to move, and syncing them with music allows you to feel the pulsing pleasure of dance. I swear it’s in my bones because when I hear music, I immediately start dancing in my head. Bill always complains he can’t understand the words, but who cares about that. Where’s my dancing shoes? “So what can I do to this? Waltz? Salsa? Swing?” Ever notice heads bobbing and feet tapping at a concert? I often wonder if they, too, are dancing in their heads.

I do watch my vigor waning as the years go by. My head’s still got plenty of it but the body protests more than it used to. Three hours on the dance floor leaves my joints whispering next morning, “ Ibuprofen, please.” Kind of like at a buffet where your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

Dancing Turns a Bad Mood Upside Down!

couple dancing in street

Even street dancing in the rain counts.

You could say that dance is my therapy of choice, a godsend that’s helped transform the bluest of moods over the years. A room full of people produces happy chatter, and you can count on some of those smiles rubbing off. Or maybe it’s just the dance itself. Twirling, swirling, sliding, and gliding across the floor puts joy in my heart. I’ve occasionally forced myself go dancing when I really wanted to stay home and nurse a very poopie mood. And I’m always glad I did. This “mood maker” works every time and I leave a different person. It’s like dancing cracks open a pressure value, as if sweat loosens the latch.

Watching contestants maneuver fancy moves on TV makes it look impossible, but dancing is all about having fun, not proving you’re good. It can feel intimidating but remembering that all good dancers had two left feet at the start helps. Women perk up when I talk about dancing but wouldn’t think of going without the security of a partner. Showing up alone or asking someone to dance seems foreign at first, but like any new habit, it just takes getting used to. Times have changed and asking is reciprocal. Men have a different barrier; they’re afraid of looking foolish. They don’t want to dance unless they know how to dance, but that doesn’t make sense. How will they learn without lessons? We all have to start somewhere, and in a beginning class nobody knows what the heck they’re doing. Laughing here is a requirement.

dancing feet

My feet are famous!

This photo appeared in the local newspaper once along with an article on Halloween. I saw the reporter roaming the floor taking dancing shots but never dreamed she would pare them down to feet only. My big feet were obviously more photogenic than I imagined!

I believe lots of people WANT to dance, but don’t think they can. I’m here to tell you that you probably can. One of my instructors said it best, “If you can walk, you can dance.” My bent happens to be Ballroom, and with partner dancing there are rules that don’t apply to other types of dance: the necessity of breath mints, deodorant and a smile. If anybody ever wants to know, a wonderful birthday gift for Carol is fine dining on filet mignon with a private dance session for dessert!