Why I Have Happy Feet!!
Remember the book, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom? Morrie’s great love of dancing as an expression of joy was a large part of who Morrie Schwartz was. Here’s this quote by Mitch Albom in a newspaper article about his relationship with Morrie:
“The worst part of dying this way, he said, was that he couldn’t dance. Morrie loved to dance. For years he went to a church hall not far from Harvard Square, where once a week they would blast music and open the door to anyone, dance however you wanted, with whomever you wanted. Morrie danced by himself. He shimmied and fox-trotted, he did old dances to modern rock music. He closed his eyes and fell into the rhythm, twirling and spinning and clapping his hands. There, among the college students, this old man with twinkling eyes and thin white hair shook his body until his T-shirt was soaked with sweat. He was a respected sociology professor with a wife and two sons. He had written books. He had lectured all over. But on these nights, he danced alone like a shipwrecked child. He wasn’t embarrassed. He never got embarrassed. For him, the whole thing was a sort of introspective journey.”
Back to me: I think I am only second to Morrie in my love of dancing. There is something about letting loose on a dance floor to some great music that unleashes the free spirit in me that is otherwise confined by the demands of a busy and productive life. (Semi-profound statement, No?)
Sadly, Morrie was felled by Lou Gehrig’s disease and had to stop dancing. I could not even imagine.
I first discovered my love of dancing to music at boy/girl mixers in middle school, and then at a few high school parties/socials. There wasn’t nearly enough opportunity to dance through high school as I would have liked. I really should have been a high school student in the fifties where they had all those bobby sox dances and the malt shops playing music with teens dancing. I really missed my era! Here’s what I would have looked like:
I was very happy with the various boys I dated in college, because several had older siblings getting married or cousins bar mitzvahed, and I was invited as their date, giving me opportunities to dance all night long to music. Since I always research for my blogs, I peeked at the diary entries (yes I still have them all) from this era, and have breathless accounts of how much fun I had at these soirees. “This was the most fun night ever!” “I had the best time I have ever had!” I described each of these joyful and incredibly fun evenings I had dancing the night away until my feet swelled from my dress shoes and then ditched the shoes to keep going. (Okay, sipping those whiskey sours underage wasn’t bad either!)
Another guy I dated (Hi Danny if you still read my blogs) took me to many dance type concerts where kids paid for a ticket and stood on the floor and just danced to the music all night. He really showed me how to lose your inhibitions while dancing as I had always been a bit self-conscious before him. I dance at all concerts thanks to him. No inhibition at all.
Luckily, I have had loads of opportunities as an adult to dance to my heart’s content by having a wide social circle where there is always, always, always an occasion – bar and bat mitzvahs for example. (I spent four years of my life going to them and even multiple ones just about every weekend it seemed) My ex-husband also worked in an industry that had several dance parties a year – formals for employees, and aside from that we frequented lots of charity events where there was a band and dancing.
For the past several years, I am thankfully on the wedding circuit, and I love these evenings of celebration and dance as much as I did in my diary entries from way back when. In fact, most of my friends know that they can count on me to keep the party going and that I won’t be leaving the dance floor once the music starts. I am usually one of the last ones off. Yep, I am just like Morrie in that way. We are truly kindred spirits.
I am lucky too because we are close friends with an executive at a museum here in Houston that has frequent dance socials. Oh how I love to go to these!
For the most part, I have chosen guys that understand my love of dancing and they have all been real troopers in staying on the dance floor all evening. I have to especially give a shout out to my husband Gary, who probably never danced so much in his entire life since he met me. I know he especially likes the slow dances though. (Grin!)
I remember during my divorce which was a very sad time and when I was trying hard to be a brave soldier for my kids, the song “Living La Vida Loca” was huge. (Well that and Mambo Number Five) My wonderful daughter Elissa and I would play that record and dance in my family room to it – both of us and sometimes, just me alone. It brought the joy back into me. I perked back up in no time just because of small things like that which brought back my joy of living. When I started dating my husband Gary shortly afterward, he knew of my dancing at home to music, and he thought it was wonderful and healthy.
One time, my friends and I even dragged our husbands to Dancing With the Stars type of dance lessons. The guys did NOT tolerate it well, so we had to give it up. It wasn’t a huge loss because once again, my favorite dancing is like Morrie – the freestyle watusi, boogy-ing type.
I guess, it all branches out from my love of music. I don’t even need a dance floor to start dancing. I was sent a great video last weekend by a friend, and I was dancing in my chair watching it. Whenever I play a You Tube video of a great dance pop number, I just can’t sit still. My husband, who has a side-by side desk with me in our office, laughs at me when I do this. (I am polite and keep the headphones on!)
I have often said, and I have friends that agree with me on this: I would like and would PAY for an exercise class that just played an hour of really great dance music and instead of precision motions to it, like Jazzercise or Zumba, just let us freestyle dance to the beat. We would work up a sweat and have fun doing it.