Dancing with the Stars? Not so much.

15 May

Last night Alan and I went to the State Theater in Falls Church to see Donna the Buffalo perform. Both the band and the venue were new experiences for us, despite the fact that the theater has been a live music venue for twelve years, and that the band has been around for more than two decades.

What can I say? We’re late bloomers.

Anyway, it was a great performance. If you’re not familiar with DtB, check them out on Pandora – they’re an eclectic mix of southern rock/rockabilly with some hints of zydeco thrown in for fun. It made for an interesting crowd… I think the youngest person we saw was in his late 20s, while the oldest was well into her AARP years. Regardless, everyone danced.

Except me. I love to dance, but just as we got out of the car, I had a bout of vertigo kick in. As a side note: it’s not actually vertigo, but according to a neurologist it’s the way migraines manifest themselves in my body. No headache, I just lose my sense of balance and can’t get my vision to cooperate quite right. In short, while I’m not in pain, I squint, run into things and generally look retarded. Awesome!

As you might imagine, it makes dancing a bit of a challenge, so I contented myself to sit on a chair and watch everyone ELSE dance. Like being the only sober person at a party, it was an awakening. My epiphany: most people think they dance much better than they actually do.

Among my favorite dancers were the two women who resembled slow-moving mannequins. One was clearly the lead mannequin, and she barely moved her hips, kept her arms in a rigid Barbie-bend next to her body, and swayed just enough to let you know she thought she was dancing. Her friend (who looked eerily like her) clearly thought that this was one classy dance move, because she tried to emulate it but couldn’t seem to find the beat. They danced the way I would expect mild-mannered NPR hosts to dance.

On the other end of the energy scale was a guy who couldn’t stop pitching himself around wildly. One minute he would be up on tip-toes, making fireworks out of his hands in the air, the next he would be in a “how low can you go” twist down to the ground. In addition to his vertical antics, he tied up a good amount of space on the floor because people were frightened to get too close to him for fear of a black eye.

As I sat smugly rejoicing in the fact that no one could mock my dance moves, it the back of my mind, a memory stirred. The year I lived in France I forced my way into the middle of a dance circle at a discotheque, danced (ok, stomped) around boldly to an Eminem song, and finished by saying, “Now THAT’S how we do it in DETROIT, bitches!” I’m pretty sure that my perception of my talent in that moment was not even remotely correlating to the impression I made on les hommes. In fact, had any of my Michigan friends been there, they would have stepped three feet away from me and discreetly shaken their heads for the shame I heaped upon MoTown in that moment.

And now that I think about it, I’ve decided that the real lesson learned last night is this: There is no place for the non-dancer or non-drinker at a concert or party. Life is short. When opportunities present themselves to dance or celebrate, we should seize them without fearing a mirror and harsh light.

Unless, of course, that light comes from a video camera. In which case, the footage should immediately be posted to YouTube so the rest of the world can silently thank their stars that it wasn’t them.

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