So here I am, dancing at the party on Saturday night...
I love this picture because dancing really does make me feel this blissed out. I didn't realize it until I saw this picture, but this is really what it feels like inside (oh, gods, am I really this transparent?).
I've loved dancing since I was little. I would dance and perform for family and friends. My mother was a part of a liturgical dance group and I would go with her and practice with them. I was later a part of a liturgical dance group in high school...and it was the most powerful part of being in church for me.
I went to my share of school dances, but my favorite teen dance memories were with the dances for my church youth group. For some reason, I could kick it loose there in a way that I could not at school...maybe because I had known most of those kids since we were toddlers. I would say that there was a bit of a catch 22 with those dances though because I also have the most profound memories of loneliness from them. I could dance the fast songs with abandon, but the slow songs would come along and there would be no one to dance with...strangely, that still hurts.
Dancing was the first way that I got in touch with my body. I loved the feel of it. I didn't have to be coordinated. I could shake my hips and my ass and not be ashamed. I could, and often did, go inside of myself almost entirely. It's probably the only time I like my body entirely. I take up a lot of space dancing.
I've danced for myself. I've danced for other people...I even tried, unsuccessfully, to seduce someone by dancing for them. I've danced in joy and in pain. I've tapped, waltzed, slammed, Roger Rabitted (much to the amusement of everyone, including myself), danced free form, schotished, and polkaed my way through many an hour.
I remember the polka, in particular. I first learned it from my mother at my grandparents' house in Iowa. Grandfather pulled out some old polka albums, then got out his accordian and accompanied us. Later that lesson would stand me in good stead, when at a folk festival, Bette and I began an impromptu polka to a polka band playing in the lobby. We got cheers from all the older observers and strange looks from the people our age.
At a good concert, or a party with good music, I can hardly keep myself from standing still. Dancing is just a joy in my soul. It is, perhaps, my most consistent drug.
I wrote the following after going to see a band at the, now closed, City Blues Cafe in DC...it's very rough, but I still can feel what I meant:
The strings of your music tug
at my heart and mind so that
I twitch and dance and sidestep.
A riff skittles across my nerves
and the base sets my heart a new beat
I am pulled taut and so still
that I can only close my eyes
and feel the tension empty