Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Dance for Joy"

My son loves to dance. So much so that he will often spontaneously break into dancing without warning. Yesterday at gymnastics, we had to wait a few minutes for someone to finish using the next apparatus, and he announced to me, “Mama, I need to dance!” and began gyrating wildly, much to the amusement of all the parents watching from the observation deck.

Coming from a dance family, as he does on his father’s side (his great-grandmother, Hazel Boone, opened a dance school over 100 years ago that was later run by his grandmother and is now run by his aunt), I’d love to say that his dancing is rhythmic and stylish and shows great potential for future training. But I’m afraid he looks more like a cross between a ferret being electrocuted and a frog in a blender. It’s not pretty. He stomps as loud as he can, he flails his arms, he waggles his head back and forth, he wiggles his backside, and he spins around like a whirling dervish. There is no grace, no beauty, no pattern, no rhythm. There is merely exuberance.

Apparently he inherited his dance skills from my side of the family.

But I am reminded of Hazel Boone’s motto: “Dance for joy!” And I am forced to admit that above all else, he dances for joy. He dances for the joy of the music, the joy of a healthy body, the joy of a big room to play in, the joy of entertaining those watching him, the joy of discovering control over his own body. I like to think that Hazel Boone would have appreciated his dancing despite its lack of training and form. She would have seen the joy shining through the awkwardness.

And after all, isn’t the best dancing the kind you don’t do for anyone else? When did you last experience joy while dancing? If you’re like me, it was probably back in junior high, when you turned up the radio, grabbed a hairbrush for a microphone, jumped up on your bed, and did your best Flashdance imitation in your bedroom mirror. My moves were more Joe Cocker than Janet Jackson, but I didn’t care. I was dancing, and I was joyous.

So the next time you feel a sudden urge to get up and dance, don’t look around to see if anyone else is watching. Just grab the nearest hairbrush, wooden spoon, water bottle, or whatever is handy, rock out, and dance for joy!!!

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