life dancing 101

“And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance…”

I am one who’s comfortable dipping his finger into a variety of art forms: music (i can carry a tune and play the piano), visual art (i draw and do powerpoint… hehe), literature (i love writing and people say it’s decent enough to read– most of the time, that is), humor (hey, this is art, believe me.) But there is one realm i haven’t quite stepped into. That mysterious place where feet are used for effects other than walking or running.
Dancing. Not that I have never danced in this life. Just now, several bits of dance memory from my teenaged years come to mind. (Interestingly, most of them can be filed under “Embarrassing. Priority for Deletion from Memory Bank”.) There’s the awkward waltz-ala-folkdance at the high school prom (Why was i hearing muffled snickers from the teachers? Somebody bring him bamboo poles!). Oh yes, that hilarious swing at an awards night. (All i remember now is the artificially arched eyebrow of the choreographer raised in utter dismay at my lack of grace.) And, oh, how could i forget the embarrassing sway-snap-sway at a college choral competition (It’s even on video–me consistently swaying to the wrong directions; the snaps were all right, thank heavens)!
Dancing just isn’t my cup of tea. And growing up Baptist didn’t help at all in teaching these now-arthritic limbs to jig. (Haha!) But, i don’t really mind. Most times, I’m more than happy watching gifted creatures do their stuff on the dance floor or onstage. And the more they defy skeletal limitations–splits, pirouettes, high-kicks–the more cheers and applause they get from me! Gracefully limber people never cease to amaze me, mostly because i have always been respectfully admiring of those who can do things i know i can never do well, like dancing (and, yes, cooking too, but that’s an all together different topic.)
So why, all of a sudden, am i thinking (and now writing) a lot about dancing? Because i suspect that this activity that has eluded my participation actually holds valuable life lessons that i would definitely not want to miss. These feet might never learn to pleasantly and gracefully go with a beat, but i would still want to learn to dance–but the kind of a rather abstract nature.
It seems to a non-dancer such as myself that dancing inherently involves abandon, a shedding of inhibitions. Dancing is a form of expression that engages the whole of the body, mind, and spirit. There is, i suspect, an inexplicable delight known only to dancers when they move their beautifully unrestrained bodies. And although the dancers take their cue from the music and are meticulously aware of the beat, they never appear constrained by it.
If i could only learn to apply these in my life–the abandon, the complete engagement, the passionate commitment to a structure without being constrained by it… If i could only learn to see life as a dance and get this body–this being– moving to its beat, and not just sit it out at the sides… then i will have taken a grand step towards living a life the way the great Creator had designed it.
Why do i have the feeling that in order to learn to do the abstract life dance i inevitably need to try my hand…er, feet… at literal dancing?
So, any patient dance instructors out there?

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