Have you heard the phrase “You don’t stop dancing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop dancing”?
It’s funny how when you are young, it comes so naturally. Even babies sometimes jump up and down upon hearing a rhythmic tune. When we grow up and life begins to happen, we sometimes don’t give us the time, the permission or even the courage to do many things, including dancing.
I’ve always loved to dance. Through the years, on purpose or unknown forces of destiny, I have gravitated towards different types of dancing adventures.
It’s simple: when I am dancing, I am happy.
In one of our adventures with the Air Force, we landed for the first time in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a pre-COVID world and when in a new assignment, we were looking for activities for our daughter as an opportunity for cultural immersion. A group of fun ladies introduced me to a dancing studio where their daughters were starting classes.
What caught my attention was that classes where not just for young girls but for grown women like me!!!
It didn’t take a lot of effort from my friends to convince me to join their dancing group. I was in, all the way! The funny thing is that my daughter decided that she didn’t want to participate after all.
On the first day of class the teacher approached and asked me if I had any dancing experience. “Of course”, I said proudly. I didn’t know that she was actually referring to ballet or jazz, so when I mentioned Zumba, she wasn’t exactly thrilled. I had never been on a ballet or jazz class, and I felt a bit nervous and embarrassed watching the other ladies dancing around me with such an ease. I wasn’t the best dancer, but I did improve as time went by.
I couldn’t wait for my weekly dancing class and soon, I decided to go twice a week. I was enjoying every minute of it: the rhythm, the challenge of dancing as part of a team, memorizing choreography, and the energetic teacher. But most of all, I enjoyed the feeling of happiness that dancing brought me once again.
Later, I learned that the studio hosted a big show every year where the students perform in front of a large audience. It would take place in a beautiful theater, the Teatro Avenida in Buenos Aires.
I was used to dancing with friends who were indulging me with my dancing ambitions. But the anticipation of dancing for so many people and in such an elegant theater was nerve wracking. This was real, with professional outfits and all! People would be watching me! We practiced a lot for the big night. Our teacher did her magic, choreographing songs from Broadway musicals A Chorus Line and Nine.
With nerves and all, I performed on November 25, 2019.
My family was there, including my parents who were in town. I danced in two songs. The theater was packed and loud. The music started, and the nerves went away. All I felt was pure joy. Soon, the feeling of joy turned into gratitude. I was honored for the opportunity to dance with such a special group of inspiring ladies and my teacher.
But I was grateful for that brief moment in which, if only for a day, I was a dancer.
Looking back to the experience, I can translate this moment into real life.
I think each one of us has that special talent or skill that perhaps seems even silly or we are “too old for.” But if it sparks a light of gratitude inside of you, then you’re never too old.