Do you dance every day? I do.
Dance and I have a long history together. Some of my oldest memories are of pony-galloping around a church hall in Papatoetoe with a girl that I am still in touch with today. Alongside a complementary diet of gymnastics classes (aids the flexibility), after-school ballet classes two to three times a week kept me very busy. Building up to performances, weeks were even busier with additional rehearsals. There was something just magical about losing myself in the music and driving myself harder and harder with each repetition of the routine. Ballet classes also led to some fantastic opportunities; performing as part of a production in a major Auckland theatre and seeing an all-male ballet being amongst them. One made me realize how strong I could be, the other made me realize the strong masculine side of ballet – one that Sergei Polunin demonstrates admirably above.
As I grew older, and (let’s face it) curvier, I realized a professional ballet career was slipping out of reach. I threw myself into acting but still craved the feeling that dance gave. Movement classes were some of my favorite days in Drama classes – I’m sure that if Glee Club or Show Choir had been a thing in my school I would have been right in there. I vividly remember nights at a friend’s house as my friends (and a mother) taught me how to dance dirty; something that my ballet training had somehow forgot. My late teens and early twenties saw me get my dancing fix through parties and clubs in varying states of sobriety. No matter how much I’d had to drink, however, dancing always helped me through any rough times I was going through.
On June the 1st, 2012, I had my “first dance” with the man who I married, my dance partner for life. It was perfectly imperfect – we’d had no time for dance lessons and so we selected Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith as an easy song to choreograph a short dance to. A few whirls in the lounge room and we called it good. On the night we finished our routine and called our parents onto the dance floor. Some of my favorite photos of the night were caught in that moment; my parents relaxing into each other despite the stresses that were going on in their lives (my mum passed away just under two months later) and my uncle taking my sole grandmother for a spin on the dance floor.
Dancing, of course, looks very different now. I’m not often out shaking my booty in the club. Papa M and I don’t get a lot of slow dancing time to ourselves either, although occasionally I’ll drag him into a little kitchen waltz. Dancing these days usually involves cracking my son up with my crazy moves to Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, playing him like a guitar or bopping along with other tots at our local Wriggle and Rhyme. It’s not worse, just different. And I can’t deny that a little smile pops on my face when I see CJ bounce up and down as the theme music to his favorite show comes on; maybe I’ve created a second generation of dancers too, one that also feels that a day is not complete without a dance.