I went to the school board’s dance festival this morning – nine elementary schools doing their thing. The music was high energy and I tapped out the beat in the bleachers. It brought me back to the disco on a Cuba vacation. What a joy to move, to throw the arms into the air with gay abandon.
The kids helped me remember how dearly I love to dance. I remember my wife Jody staring at me as I gyrated to the tunes. Apparently I didn’t look too graceful but I was sure having fun.
I also remember Halloween dances at a long ago elementary school. All costumed up, I moved amid the 12-year-olds – not as fast as them but usually just as expressive. Oh, the joy of mindless response to great melodies and rhythms!
For the last year, I’ve been careful. What a yucky word. I was worried about the pain in my knee and my hip. “Don’t break something, Bruce. Take it slow and easy.” Especially after today, I’m tired of measured and moderate. My trainer and I have set me on a course to health in its many forms, including having stronger muscles around my knees. Does this mean that my future holds dancing, maybe even running? “Why not?” I say.
The gym was crowded with young dancers and their loved ones. Troupes of kids dressed all in black, or all in white or tie-dyed t-shirts rocked the house. Most wore big smiles. Some were athletic. Some seemed focused on remembering the steps. The occasional kid was overweight but moving smartly nonetheless. Some children were tiny but still pumping their arms madly beside classmates a foot or more taller. There was even a line dancing group topped with cowboy hats, taking us through our paces in Cadillac Ranch. No one was left out.
Boys were in short supply but they didn’t care. It’s possible that “friends” back at school razzed them for choosing hip hop over football but the faces still shone as Magic in the Air had kids in the audience shaking their bods along with the performers.
Well, young ones, you inspired me today. I also have two feet and fully functioning legs. It’s time to launch assorted body parts into the air again. There’s a place for calm and an equal spot for raucous.
Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world
for I would ride with you upon the wind
and dance upon the mountains like a flame!
(William Butler Yeats)