Just in case you thought you could dance…

Posted on October 10, 2010

Sometimes the Universe conspires to send you a message. Usually a timely one. I received one today. It reminded me that while my mind is capable of wondrous feats, my body is not what it was. Don’t get me wrong, it goes okay, but…

Last night, Mum and I attended a ‘dancing thing’ at the local Entertainment Centre. I call it a ‘dancing thing’ because when she asked me to escort her many weeks ago she said it was a ‘dancing thing’. When my husband asked me what it was I was going to, I answered a ‘dancing thing’. It was written on the calendar as ‘dancing thing with mum’. As it turns out, the words were prophetic.

We rolled up to discover a full foyer and lots of kids. Unusual, but we were quite excited that so many Fibrotown folk had turned out for a ‘dancing thing’. The program made it all sound very exciting. We were there to see ‘The Next Step: Do it On the Dance Floor’, featuring the director and artists from Dein Perry’s ‘Tap Dogs’, as well as contestants from Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance. I loved ‘Tap Dogs’ and while I’ve never watched SYTYCD, Mum loves it. We were happy. We had a glass of wine and climbed up to our seats in row G.

The show began. Five minutes later, we were checking our tickets in consternation – were we there for the right night? Tickets confirmed we were. Why then were we watching what was obviously a local dance school’s annual concert? The numbers of children in the foyer suddenly became clear – most of them were in the show. “I think it’s just an entree,” I muttered. Five numbers later, we were beginning to wonder.

Admittedly, it was entertaining enough in its own way. Interpretive, modern dance takes on a whole new meaning when it’s performed by 15-year-olds and randomly placed in front of you. There was a standout little girl, in the front row, in the hip hop group – and one, in the back row, whose worried little face immediately caught my attention. She was one step behind the group the whole time, thrusting her tiny hips right when everyone else went left. I loved her.

Watching as the show unfolded, ballet following hip hop following a rather lengthly piece from Mary Poppins, I felt sympathy for my Dad, and my brother, subjected to years and years of watching other people’s children perform whilst waiting for a two-minute burst from one of us at the annual ballet concert. I think I may have even perfected my own version of the concert face.

At the end of the display, we were told we’d been watching [insert name of local dance school]. At no other time had this been mentioned. It was like those infuriating moments when you’re listening to the radio and you have to wait half an hour for the back announcement of what you were listening to.

After a short interval, during which I contemplated the fact that the ‘dancing thing’ was proving to be as vague as its title, the real show began. And I sat there with my 66-year-old mother and watched 12 guys – seven dancers, one singer, one rapper, three band members – tear up the stage. It was brilliant. Loud, hip-hoppy, brilliant. There was even a tap-off. I love a tap-off. It’s like Fight Club, only with less blood. Watching the dancers, I was struck by the absolute joy with which they approached their work. They were so damn happy to be there. They were dancing like no-one was watching, only we were all watching their every move. Complete assurance. Complete freedom.

It was the kind of moment that could see a person go and sign up for dance classes, 20 years after their last dance class.

Fortunately, the Universe was watching out for me. This afternoon, Fam Fibro went to the local aquatic centre for some swimming and waterslide shenanigans. I attempted a few laps. Very slow laps. I managed 250 metres. Fifty metres of freestyle. Two hundred metres of breaststroke. Even as I type this, I can feel my muscles protesting. I will wake tomorrow to sore thighs, sore arms… and all from a ‘low-impact’ form of exercise.

I don’t think I’ll be attempting a ‘dancing thing’ any time soon.

{image: streetswing.com}


  1. themommydaddy

    When I was a child, waaay back in the day, I really wanted to dance. But, back then, I would’ve been beat up every day at school.

    Thank God things are different today and I can watch three of my sons and a daughter taking Ballet lessons.

  2. Kath

    I’m so glad that events like this happen in the evening, so that I get home late and, despite my happy high from having watched the evening’s performance, I’m unable to ring the local dance centre/singing instructor/drama school etc and sign up for a batch of classes.

    By the time the morning comes round, I am over this euphoric feeling that it could be me up there next time! Which is a good thing.

    The little girl dancing to her own beat sounds familiar and I love it when there is a group that exudes enthusiasm for what they’re doing, especially when it combines with a tap-off! Gotta love those dancing thingies. 🙂

  3. ThereAreNoMistakesOnlyVariations

    Yes – Maxabella is right! Go! Go slowly at first if you must, but do it with joy and don’t give a toss if anyone sees/how it looks. The joy is in the doing. Dance is one of the healthiest things you ever could do. I truly despair when anyone says I can’t dance – EVERYBODY can dance, even if it may not be worth watching – that’s not the point.

  4. life in a pink fibro

    @Anonymous – it was a great night and the kids were terrific. We were just a bit nonplussed as we had no idea what was going on. The audience, including us, however, was very enthusiastic in its appreciation of all performers, professional or not. And the little girl in the back row was the star of the evening as far as I was concerned.

    @PinkPatentMaryJanes – you would have been well impressed by one of the dancers – he managed a back-arching handstand (think yoga back arch but with feet OFF THE FLOOR), held for around 30 seconds. I won’t be trying that any time soon. Suggest you don’t either. 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    I believe that the kids that took part were part of the performing ensemble – kids from all schools and their teachers (who give up a lot of their free time for this)and other performances.

    The kids who took part should be applauded and I hope that their excitement is never diminished and who knows that kid who was out of step may be the next SYTUCD star!!

    My daughter attended on Saturday night as part of a 16th birthday celebration – they loved it. Not only the professional dancers but also seeing kids they know doing what they love.

  6. PinkPatentMaryJanes

    Ouch – you reminded me of a few years ago when I taught my daughter how to cartwheel. I managed one gloriously elegant, legs-akimbo cartwheel – and couldn’t walk properly for days afterwards…

  7. Posie Patchwork

    I’m someone who suffered watching my sister dance & sing her way through her teens (i was sporty) & it was not my thing. Now my children do it, i’m the mum with tears of joy. I think it’s relative, but i know i prefer watching them do sport. I always fall in love with the one out of step, A for effort, love Posie

  8. Maxabella

    Kerry’s comment is making me laugh. There are so many, many things that look better in my head…

    With the dancing thing – you summed it up yourself. They were dancing with absolute joy and that’s really all you need to know. Go slowly, but go. x

  9. Kristy

    Oh no. I would have had a hard time not giggling in my seat.

  10. Tricia Rose

    I made my dancing teacher cry…

    Your evening sounds so like LIFE! Brownian motion and false starts, and then a flash of pattern and meaning…

  11. River

    I do so wish I could dance. I remember wanting to learn dancing when I was little, so my dad signed me up for classes, when I found it was a tap class I walked out and went to the beach instead, because I wanted ballet with its frilly tutus. I’ve regretted leaving that hall for most of my adult life.

  12. Kerry

    I did salsa dancing a few years ago. Let’s just say I looked better in my head, and the bloke didn’t step on my feet quite so much! Was fun though…better than laps I reckon 🙂

  13. MultipleMum

    I was feeling very nervous that this was not going to be a happy ending! Phew!!!

    You had it going on in your day! Approach slowly. You never know? You could be back en pointe in no time 🙂

  14. Lucy

    Oh thank goddess there was a second performance after the interval. I have been (dragged) to a similar “dance thing” without a spectacular second half (in Kalgoorlie of all places?!).

    Hope the swimmers muscles don’t ache too badly….

  15. Toni


    I’m not a dancer. I wish I was. I dream of floating about like Ginger Rogers, in heels and a floaty frock, or steaming it up to Mondo Bongo with a hot (gay) man.

    But alas. I have no co-ordination and I can’t for the life of me remember choreography.

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