As a child, I loved to dance.
I had no dancing ability whatsoever but I loved it anyway. I didn’t care how foolish I looked, when the right song came on I was ready to boogie. I would mimic Janet Jackson and J.Lo to the best of my ability. I would pretend to be a ballerina. I would ballroom dance with my imaginary Prince Eric (from The Little Mermaid, hands down the hottest Disney Prince ever) spinning around my room in my imaginary ballroom gown.
But my relationship with dance was a little strange.
I was taught that dancing was evil or wicked so I wasn’t encouraged to move my body in anyway that would attract (the wrong kind of) attention. But I loved to watch other people dance. At clubs, at school dances, on TV. The more I watched other people dance the more I wanted to move like them. I was “Footloose” in real life. I had all this pent up energy bubbling underneath the surface. I needed a way to express myself creatively. I needed to dance.
And then I discovered Praise Dancing.
I was visiting a childhood friend’s church and saw her Praise Dance team for the first time and I thought my Prayers had been answered. If I could be part of this praise dance team then I could dance – and it wouldn’t be a sin because I would be dancing for Jesus! Yay!
Praise Dancing looked simple enough. The movements weren’t complicated. Lift a hand to the heaven, lower the hand, lift the other hand, raise the eyes, bow and say “Hallelujah”…repeat. And of course it’s all done to some kind of deeply moving Gospel song. I was elated. I was over the moon. The second I got home I pulled out all of my Kirk Franklin CDs and just started making up (Praise) dance routines.
After I had what I thought was an amazing Praise Dance routine, I told my friend that I wanted to be part of her Praise Dance team. I was given the opportunity to show that instructor my little routine. I cannot tell you anything about that routine- this is one of those memories I must’ve blocked out of my mind – I can’t even tell you what song I danced to. What I can tell you is that I was not invited to be part of that Praise Dance team. I never Praise Danced outside of my bedroom.
It wasn’t long before I forgot all about Praise Dancing and moved on to a new hobby.
When I went to musical theater school (Blech!) I took dance classes which finally cured me of my obsession. I realized dancing wasn’t wicked. It was wicked hard. Getting into it in my 20s proved to be more difficult than I’d anticipated. It was just harder to get my body to cooperate.
I still love dance.
I prefer to watch it though I do get the urge to join in from time to time. At least now when I dance at a club or a bar I don’t feel guilty. I’m still awkward and barely have rhythm but I don’t care.
I keep dancing…on my own.