While in the beginning stages of an impromptu dance party (an embarrassingly frequent event) with my husband in the privacy of our living room yesterday afternoon, I found myself reflecting on my signature moves. I’m the first to admit that my abilities in this area are pitifully limited: generally speaking, I’m capable of moving either my legs or my arms in a coordinated fashion, but not both at the same time, and my usual strategy in group situations involving dancing is to plant a foolish, enthusiastic grin on my face to distract others from the mess taking place from my neck down. I most often tend to do this passive shuffle thing that I used to assume was simply a defence mechanism against the superior dancers of the world: it’s quite adaptive, really, since it can be sped up or slowed down in accordance with the music in question.
In any case, mid–side step yesterday, I had an unexpected flashback to an experience that had slipped into the dark recesses of my memory. This was quickly followed by the sudden realization that rather than coming to me spontaneously, many of my dance skillz have been shaped by the country western line dance classes to which my mother brought me and my brothers when I was ten or so.
Everything makes sense now: the shuffling, the weird little claps I incorporate into many of my dance routines, the fact that I haven’t been able to get the lyrics to Boot Scootin’ Boogie out of my head for the past eighteen years.
These lessons took place on weekday afternoons in a bar in a not-so-great area of town. The smell of cigarette smoke and stale beer hung low, covering the seventies-orange carpet and wood paneling with a layer of grime that struck me, the child of reforming hippies, as delightfully exotic. Adults of various ages, many of them wearing cowboy boots and leather-fringed garments, energetically grapevined, but we were, as far as I recall, the only kids in that repurposed drinking establishment.
Oh, the joys of homeschooling.
How did my mother find this microcosm of country dance on the West Coast? Why did she feel it necessary to seek out this microcosm of country dance on the West Coast? These are questions that I could ask her directly, but it is, of course, infinitely more entertaining to do so in such a public forum.
Mom, I eagerly await your phone call.