Dancing My Heart Out

“Are you a dancer?”

This is not something I ever expected to hear someone say to me. A dancer? Me? Um, no. I mean, I can move myself around on a dance floor and follow a beat and learn steps and such. But dancer? Like someone who DOES dance? As a thing? Um, no. My extrovertedness does not extend that far and I’m not much of a performer.

I go to Jazzercise on a semi-regular basis and we call what we do in class dancing. Which I suppose it is, but really I think of dancing as something smooth and twirly. What we do at Jazzercise is more of a butt-kicking, sweat inducing cardio workout. But just before class, when this woman asked me if I’m a dancer I laughed and said, “Bless your heart, I think that’s one of the sweetest things someone has said to me in a while.” I mean, I would assume it implies that I seem to know how to move this leg and that leg in somewhat smoothly whilst trying to follow the instructor’s set and pouring sweat like a fountain. If it wasn’t a compliment then I guess the joke’s on me.

I’m not an athlete, or a dancer for that matter. I was one of those kids in grade school and high school who avoided everything that remotely resembled physical activity. Well, there was that time in gym class where we did cross-country and I found that I could run a mile without dying and also not be the last one in. And there was the time that we did soccer and I found I rather enjoyed running back and forth on the field. I was no good at doing anything *with* the ball, but that’s not important here. And then there was the volleyball sessions where I stayed as far away from the ball as possible because I didn’t want to ram my wrist and not be able to go to orchestra rehearsal. And there was the time I was pretending to be the goalie and got slammed in the side of the head with a soccer ball. No thank you. That was about the end of any tiny interest in sports or body movement.

Oh, and dancing? Well, there was that time at a high school dance where I was a wall flower. Yeah. And my friend found some guy to dance with me and it was so embarrassing. Anyone remember high school dances in the 80s? We did not look like Footloose. Later in high school, when I passed out of the awkward Junior High stage, we did go out salsa dancing a few times, but that was different, there were steps to follow.

A friend of mine who was standing next to me this morning laughingly answered for me, “She’s a dancer the minute she walks in the door to class.” And that’s basically it. After 5 years of Jazzercising, I love to step into the room, find my place, ignore everything around me, put my brain on pause, watch the instructor in the front of the room, listen to music I never would have listened to before, and move like no one is watching, dancing my heart out. So, am I a dancer? Yeah, I guess, for about an hour a day, I am, but only in my mind.

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