Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

The meaning of the above title came to life for me a few years ago while attending a wedding reception. A DJ played music as twenty or more mostly young adults were dancing and having fun.

I was hesitant to get out on the dance floor with the dancers who looked like they were half my age or younger and a lot more energetic! They knew all the latest moves to all the latest songs. I figured I would look lost, goofy, inept or silly trying to dance like them or even to dance at all.

I only knew dances like the twist, pony, swim, and other antique dances from the 1960’s and 70’s. Besides I was one of the older attendees there.

As I stood on the side lines watching the dancers “moving and grooving,” I secretly wanted to get out there and dance with them but had no one to dance with except for my on self consciousness and regret for my perceived inabilities and deficiencies.

Then I caught a glimpse of an “older woman,” like myself, who was a cousin of my sister in law. But instead of standing on the sidelines like I was, she was out on the dance floor, dancing like there was no tomorrow.

She danced by herself, with her cousins, or whoever wanted to dance with her. Indefatigable, this woman, about 10 years younger than me was quite obviously enjoying dancing with the group.

She was moving to the music, waving her arms and hands in rhythm to the beat and wearing the most glorious smile of joy on her face. She did not give one thought to how she looked, what she was wearing, if she knew the dance or not and certainly did not care what people thought of her.

She was just totally immersed in the music, its rhythms and having fun. She saw me and motioned for me to come on out on the floor and dance too! I wanted to have the same kind of fun she was having! She was having a lot more fun than I was, standing on the sidelines wishing I was out there dancing!

How could I resist the music and the fun any longer! I got out there and danced, (whether perfectly or not… who cares!!) till my feet hurt! I laughed, smiled, and giggled like a big kid!

I did take a break to rest my feet. Then I danced some more. The call of the music was so intoxicating that I couldn’t resist its power driving me to move my feet.

What amazed me about it all was I didn’t care about: what I looked like, how dorky I was, how out of step with the electric slide, or, for a while at least, how much my plantar fascitiis hurt! I was immersed in the pure joy of the music and expressing it through my movements.

Because of my friend’s participation and unfettered joy, she taught me a lesson. “Dance like nobody’s watching.” When my heart tells me to do something but my head convinces me that I can’t do it or will only mess it up, or embarrass myself, I need to listen to my heart.

Trying something new is often scary for us, whether young or old. But we may be missing out on some wonderful memory making experiences to enliven us and help us meet more friends too.

When we can lose ourselves in a new adventure and feel a surging joy from the experience of learning something new, or doing something we enjoy, we can lose our self consciousness and emerge from the activity with newfound enthusiasm and even confidence which will add new dimensions to our lives.

You have watched a child playing at something, when they are oblivious to those around them. When they are totally immersed their faces are almost glowing with curiosity and excitement. Bring your inner child out of hiding; listen to your inner child; let them play and lose yourself in something new or something you love to do. We can make our lives better.

Look listen, smell, hear and feel what is around you. You may be surprised at the little messages you will see or find in your own world. Then like a child, who has made an amazing discovery or experienced something new, go share it with someone else.

Sharing a wonderful magical experience is like the wind blowing dandelion seeds with their little tufts of fluff. Tell your friends and family what you experienced, if you can. Start your own seeds flying!

My inner child and I recently went to a dance festival at a local Mexican restaurant. I haven’t danced anything but belly dancing since I was a young adult. I wasted time deciding what I should wear; worrying how I would fit in; wondering if I would hurt my back or re-injure my foot. The friend I was going to meet there couldn’t make it. Oh, boy, I will be alone with total strangers.

Me ready for a dance.
67 and ready to dance….maybe.

But I went anyway! After meeting some new people and eating supper the music started. We were given salsa lessons! I actually caught on pretty quickly to the repetitive steps.

Then a young man from India started Bollywood dancing. It looked fun! So I joined in.

When we stopped dancing I told him, ” I am 67 years old. I can’t believe I just danced Bollywood.” His eyes widened with surprise and a big smile exploded across his face, “You are amazing!!”

Then a group of women joined in on a Middle Eastern Belly dancing style group dance. It was too magical! I had to join in! I did not care one bit how I looked, what people thought of me, or if I was dancing badly. I was in the moment with the music. Several other people told me that I danced well!!

I haven’t had so much fun in years! Guess who’s going to the upcoming 60’s and 70’s dance party!?!


24 thoughts on “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

  1. Wonderful story! When I was younger I went to the beach with my girlfriends. We went to a “dance hall.” (Don’t know what else to call it. They were holding back but looking at the dance floor I recognized that I couldn’t tell who was dancing with who so I shimmied down to the floor and got lost in the dancers. I had a great time. Learned a few new moves and didn’t even need alcohol to loosen up! Dance on! PS: I always go to local oldies dances when I see them. Love the music and I can do a decent job of those old dances.

    Like

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