03 Sep Dance, Baby, Dance
I was drunk the first time I laid down some fancy footwork on the dance floor. I also laid down my dinner–understandable seeing as I was nine years old and someone at my parents’ wedding refilled my wine glass after I drained it with every toast.
After their honeymoon, my parents often took my younger sister and me to the Chinese Palace for dinner and dancing. The two of us drank Shirley Temple drinks served with paper umbrellas and danced our hearts out to canned music on a small square of slippery flooring in the center of the room. If the wait staff was bothered by two little girls wearing bridesmaid dresses misusing the space, they never let on.
For my grade seven graduation sock hop, I upped my dance floor style by stealing my mom’s sexy midriff-baring blouse with see-through sleeves. I covered up with a shawl for the walk to school and somehow wasn’t turned away at the gym door. The photo of me dancing with my friend Martin Dapp was snapped by my parents, first time ever chaperones. Surprise!
At fourteen I went disco dancing to the Brothers Gibb and Abba every weekend with my boyfriend and only got ID once. It was heaven on earth.
By seventeen, my beloved disco was dead, I gave up dancing to turn Pentecostal. Because I’m an all-in kind of girl, I studied theology and became a pastor. By the time I attended Moms & Tots music sessions with my young sons, I was too inhibited to make the hand motions for “The Wheels on the Bus.”
When my sons were teens, our family moved to the Sunshine Coast, a haven for hippies and artist-types. My man and I soon discovered the dances in the Robert’s Creek community center. Shoes and substances were optional. With the first note, everyone was up and dancing. Bands played on hours after their last planned set because the energy was so electric.
Religion and fun battled it out. Fun won.
Along with disco (thank you Mamma Mia), I have come full circle, once again leaving everything on dance floor, except, so far, my dinner.