I grew up in a religious tradition that threatened us with the fires of Hades if we went dancing. Dancing was a shocking sin, every bit as bad as sex (I know… there’s a lot of craziness in that statement).
As an adult, I encourage people to go dancing when they can. But the truth is I cannot dance myself. I am physically uncoordinated for one thing, and I’m way too self conscious for another. And maybe I’m still a little repressed from my religious upbringing.
Which is frustrating because in my soul, I think I am a dancer. In my heart I move in celebration with music. But I don’t because I don’t want to be laughed at or judged in any way.
The other day I was at an anniversary party where there was dancing. My friend is overweight, has an artificial hip and a bum knee, but he took his bride to the dance floor for a turn. They looked good—she in her dress and he in his tux. She always looks good. But he was the one I watched.
While the music played, he wasn’t half crippled. He was a dancer sharing a graceful moment with the woman he loves. They weren’t having sex but they were making love as they held each other and moved to the music.
Then a young woman took to the floor during a faster number. Her dance was exuberant and sexy and sometimes goofy. She came up to me, grabbed my hands and got me to stand up, but that was all I did before I demurred.
I would have liked to have danced that day.
I’ve tried to learn. I once paid money I couldn’t afford for ballroom dancing lessons because my wife wanted us to learn. The poor woman who taught me will probably never recover from all the times I tromped on her toes with my boots. And I still can’t dance.
It seems to me that religion and spirituality should set us free to do things like dance. Spirituality really has a close connection to sensuousness and celebration. To squash that part of ourselves can shut us completely down.
Of course, in some cases, dancing could lead to sex and perhaps that’s wonderful instead of terrible.