In my earliest memories of dancing, I’m under my auntie Nancy’s dining room table, (which had been pushed off to the side of the room), watching my mom, dad, aunties, and uncles all dancing on the hardwood floor to a never-ending stack of 45 records, dropping one after the other. I remember foot-high stacks of 45s all around the record player. The song that I remember playing most? “Twistin’ the Night Away” by Sam Cooke. Every time I hear that song, I remember auntie’s spontaneous dance parties. What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?
Can it be? The Daily Post has given me a prompt that has to do with dance. Rejoice! I hated the prospect of dancing when I was little because I equivocated it with ballet. Hence, my freshest memories are of a rebellious child jamming to the music in a petty protest against “girly-ness”. (It sounds poetic when I put it that way, but those are the feelings that come up looking back as a twenty-something adult. I’m sure when I was five or six, I didn’t give a crap about the “why”.)
In my mind’s eye do I see a verdant, fruitful gallery? Shall we sift through the visions I’ve seen?
- a pre-school child in a yellow shirt with text in clashing reds and greens. It’s a day camp, extended care for the little ones. We’re getting down to pop music and colorful strobe lights are swinging to and fro. It’s dark, and I fade into the music.
- dancing the Hokey-Pokey with childish abandon
- celebrating my seventh birthday party and learning the Macarena for the first time. I just couldn’t get those complicated arm motions.
- Jumping rhythmically on my yellow children’s trampoline to music playing on the stereo
- bouncing in a light lavender dress with a flower garland on my head. I was the flower girl, along with my sister, for a cousin’s wedding
- Twirling with my Mom in my Pocahontas pajamas to “Beauty and the Beast” while the movie of the same name was playing on the TV
These are the visions I’ve seen. They don’t seem like mine. That’s why it felt slightly odd writing this, but it also made it easier to share with you.