Daily Dose of Dance


“Aw, shit girl.  I wish you didn’t have to work.  I wanna dance!  I’m cleaning my room, packing, wearing bootie shorts, a sports bra and I can’t stop dancing to Beyonce!”

This was the text that I sent to my best friend in Montreal yesterday after spending a good chunk of my day gyrating, bouncing , and tootsie-rollin’ about in my living room; (simultaneously cleaning) but mostly…I was dancing.  You see, for me there is nothing that quite beats shaking my bootie.

And I sometimes forget that fact.

Dancing is something that I have always known.  My grandma put me into dance classes when I was five.  She just turned 96.   She took me to my first ballet when I was four and a half.   That’s me on the right, with my sister in the Anaheim newspapers down below.  My aunt was in some movies….she danced too.  We had the same dance teacher, even though we were 20 some-odd years apart.  And at my grandmother’s 90th birthday party in California, my dance teacher, Ms. Hamilton, was still wearing her fake eye lashes and orange lipstick, as she had for as long as I’d known her, her heels higher than mine, all leggy and fabulous.

My grandma was a dancer too.  But not in the way we dance today.  She danced when dance cards were an actual thing.  A time when dancing was a form of courtship, when dancing was respectful and there were actual moves that you were expected to synchronize with a dance partner.  Imagine??  And she was smooth.  I remember watching her dance with my grandfather and, even though I was very young, it was so obvious that they were so in love….just by the way they swayed together.

I met my first roommate in Montreal because on the roommate referral service that I used when I’d decided to move here, I mentioned on my profile that I liked dancing.  We had never met.  I had never been to Montreal for that matter, and across a lot of miles, sight unseen, she found us an apartment because I liked to shake it.

And when we did finally meet on my first visit to the city, we went out…and danced.  And god, did we spend a lot of time going out dancing in that apartment.

She has two kids now and not much time for going out anymore, so not sure how full her dance card is these days, but nonetheless mine is pretty empty too.

I forget how freeing it is to let the music carry you away into nothing but form and movement.  Something used to happen when I went out dancing….like, you couldn’t really call it dancing.  More like transportation.  I would end up on the speakers and/or the bar and not even notice the other people in the room.  I always preferred to be up high where there was more air space, and no unwanted dance partners could infiltrate my small patch of freedom.  You could leave me alone for the entire night because I would be lost to the rhythm and I would emerge at the end, sweaty and glowing.

I don’t go out dancing hardly EVER these days.  Gone are the wild days of it being a weekend ritual, which was also the most regular dose of cardio that I’ve ever had.  But I’m glad that my recent living-room bootie shake made me remember how much a part of me this is.  How much head-thrown-back ecstasy it is to whip your hair around, shimmy your shoulders and feel bass in your hips.  And so, I’m making a commitment to dance.   Wildly, with reckless abandon in any ridiculous outfit I happen to be cleaning in, and anytime I can.

Dance as though no one is watching…..and I will, because those are the best moves….

(Happy 96th Birthday, Grandma.  I hope you can still feel the sensation of gliding across the floor in your loves’ arms.  You danced beautifully.)



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