Earlier this year, I went to my first dance in a hundred years. It was a group thing, with a lesson first. I was excited and figured I'd learn easily and be competent, if not dazzling. I love to dance. We were shown the steps of each style a couple of times and then invited to go for it. Some were couples dances, and some were group circle or line dances. I was lost. So many people seemed to be getting it, so quickly! How were they doing that? I thought I was a good dancer; I'd been told I was a good dancer, I considered myself a graceful person. Prided myself on it. I felt my cheeks grow hot, and not from the exercise. The more I tried to get it right, the more I stumbled. The more I stumbled, the more self-conscious I became.
Then I started to notice the smiling faces whirling past me, and saw that most people were having more fun than I was. Even some of the ones that were really “getting it wrong”.
This was supposed to be fun, I remembered. Just listen to the music, I told myself.
Just listen to the music, and move the way you feel moved to move.
Everything shifted. I didn't suddenly know the proper steps, but I suddenly started enjoying myself. I stopped fumbling. I started laughing. Over the course of the evening, the steps came to me little by little, as I just listened and felt and moved. Everyone around me was glowing. I was embraced and released and spun in circles and held closely. I felt like a child. Small, yet so large. Perfectly contained, as part of the flow of the dance.