Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dancing Girls

At a very young age I learned how freeing it is to move my body to music. The muscle control and rhythm came naturally to me. I used to beg my parents and their guests to watch my performances. And my brother would scream at me to “STOP DANCING” whenever a lively commercial came on TV.

But it wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I truly found the dancing soul within me. I had a small group of girlfriends who loved it like I did, and we went dancing every night of the week, except Sunday because the bars were closed. On long weekends when the bars were open on Sunday night, we went.

We rarely danced with men. We weren’t there to get picked up. We were there to dance! When the end of the night came and a boy got up the courage to ask me to dance, I always spoke honestly and apologetically. “No, I’d rather dance alone.” And while the other couples filled the dance floor for the final and inevitably slow song of the night, I would dance by myself. I loved dancing to ballads. At home, it was all I danced to.

During those months when I danced every single night, I swore to myself that I would go dancing every week (at least) for the rest of my life. But that promise was broken so soon. I moved out of Kelowna to the Lower Mainland just before I turned 23. Suddenly high cover charges, long lineups, and suffocatingly packed nightclubs had me avoiding them altogether. The odd time I did go out, I couldn’t find my groove. It just wasn’t the same. I feared that dancing was lost to me forever.

But I got so broke, I decided to try stripping. Being on stage, with the music pounding, and no one in my way, I found it again – that liberation, transcendence that I had so loved as a dancing fool in Kelowna. No matter what kind of day I was having, I could escape in dance. In fact, when the world was at its harshest, I put on my best shows. I found peace in the sensual movement of my body for the viewing pleasure of the men. But it wasn’t about the men. It was about the dance. Having an audience just enhanced it.

Time went by and I stopped stripping – though I’ll never say never. But once again, I lost that oh so important part of who I am. The dancer. Jumping around the house with my kids to Disney music is fun, but it’s not the same. I was sad and disappointed to have lost it again. I needed to dance to be happy! So I bought a pole for my room.

It helped. I got my sensuality back. I was exercising regularly, so I was healthier. I got to train my muscles again to undulate and flow to the music. But it wasn’t the same. Dancing could be spiritual for me. But that was still missing, until…

I went on my first weekend away from my kids and partner. It was a trip to Kelowna, my home town. I was staying with one of my girlfriends, Robin, from the old days – one of my dancing girls.

She had it all set up so that another one of our group, Carla, would join us for a night of dancing that weekend. I looked forward to it immensely. But I didn’t know how amazing it would be.

We danced for three hours straight on a patio dance floor above the Liquid Zoo strip club. And for three hours I found profound solace and peace. My movements fed off their movements. Their movements fed off my movements. We were in our early 20’s again as though no time had passed.

There were no obligations or responsibilities. I didn’t have to end my night abruptly because of a sitter waiting at home with my kids. I didn’t have to make sure I paid enough attention to someone I was out with. I didn’t have to push my way onto a dance floor and dance in a tiny space to avoid colliding with others. The DeeJay was playing our requests. And the boys who watched us seemed to know that we didn’t want to be bothered.

Robin and Carla, both amazing dancers, were just as immersed in the music as I was. We bonded all over again without saying any words. Just smiling and dancing. We knew we’d recaptured a cherished time from our past together. But there was no sense of urgency, like this would be the last time. We knew in those moments and since that dancing together will always be like this. It’s a gift that we share.

Since I returned home to motherhood and responsibilities, I’ve somehow been able to hang onto that dancing vibe. I am so grateful to Robin and Carla for giving it back to me. Now I am dancing around my house full of peace and tranquility, enjoying each movement I make to the beats of the music.

I don’t want to lose it again. But if I do, I know how to get it back. It’s only a four hour drive to Kelowna and a dance floor where time and space cease to exist.

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