As a child, I would regularly put my Avril Lavigne CD’s on and make up dance routines in my backyard. I would scowl at anyone who caught me free styling, and absolutely refused for it to be recorded or photographed. But it’s true, I danced.
I took part in Jazz and Tap classes until I was around 10 (because no extra curriculars were cool when I was 10, unless they involved Mary Kate & Ashley, sleepovers with my mates or updating my MP3 player). I was never particularly amazing, but I could keep up. I did the concerts. I wore the leotards and sequins and the excessive makeup that no child should ever be subjected to.
I had fun, but wasn’t overly committed. I guess I never felt truly comfortable, or that I would be the best. So I gave it up, because #tweenageemotions.
It has since occurred to me that the only other times I have danced since were in the dark at school discos, or in high school, where I was joverly intoxicated at house parties. There was no in between.
My days of Avril and contemporary routines were scratched from the record.
Now, at 23, the only times I dance is when I’m at a concert or festival, or on the rare occasion that I go to town with friends. Again, there is no in between. There is often months in between these experiences, and it never clicked until today just how stupid that is.
Why the fuck don’t I dance for fun anymore?
I started following Vanessa Marian, the founder of Groove Therapy, over on Instagram this year and I am continually enthralled by how good of a dancer she is. She moved like no other woman I’ve seen before, and can take any song and spin it into a performance.
Groove Therapy classes are dance lessons for everyone. You rock up to the venue, pay your due, then learn choreography in a room with a bunch of strangers and no mirrors. It sounds pretty wonderful, except for the choreography part (I’m not particularly agile or coordinated in my old age).
Then there’s the likes of Brisbane’s “No Lights, No Lycra” classes, where you literally dance in a dark room for an hour. I recently watched Steph from The Soul Echo’s review of the class, and am definitely intrigued.
The idea of dancing without any fears of judgment or embarrassment sounds pretty damn liberating to me.
But then I thought – why can’t I do that now?
What the heck is actually stopping me from dancing alone somewhere where no one can see me (i.e. my house whilst James is at work)?
Oh, right – absolutely fucking nothing.
So today, after a wonderful afternoon watching music videos and then sitting at the beach, I decided to perform an experiment. I got home, stripped to a shirt and undies, closed all the curtains and put some music on. The 1975 to be precise.
I kept the lights off and the cats were highly alarmed. I twirled around the lounge room and tried to pretend I was at the band’s gig (manifesting at it’s finest).
But instead of being crammed against sweaty strangers, I had space and water and the fan on high. I sang along and danced like a fool and absolutely loved it.
Once I started, I was at it for about 45 minutes. Pretty damn good for a girl who usually requires alcohol to boogie.
My review: bloody wonderful. And freeing. And so damn good.
It took a few songs for me to actually stop judging myself and comparing myself to the thousands of people who are groovier. How messed up is that?
I was completely alone and having fun, yet my inner critic still had plenty to say.
It’s set quite the fire alight. I’ve decided to incorporate this dance time into my weekly schedule. Once a week should be manageable – plus, it counts as exercise so there’s the extra incentive to get off my ass (literally).
Some advice from me to you: just dance. Close your curtains and avoid mirrors and play your favourite songs. Let go of this weird conditioning that says we should be mindful of how we dance (and if we should). Life is just too damn short to keep discreetly tapping your foot to good music.