Dance with Freedom

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I’d like to think that if I wanted to, I could be a good dancer (dear ABC, can you please create a Dancing with Normal People?  And if you do I sure as heck better be on it because I’ve been talking about it for years - AND dibs on Derek).  I love going salsa dancing, learning sweet moves and spinning around the dance floor.  But what I love even more is the random, erratic, jump around, stomp your feet, pump your fist in the air kind of dancing. (evidence here) The image that jumps into my mind is from the movie The Holiday when Cameron Diaz is running around the little cottage in England jamming out to Mr. Brightside by The Killers.  It’s an epic moment where she jumps up and down, thrashes her arms, and violently whips her hair around.  That’s the kind of dancing I like because it’s all about being free. 

Watching Dancing with the Stars, and my all time favorite dance show So You Think You Can Dance the past couple of years, I noticed myself falling more and more in love with dance.  More times than I’d like to admit, I caught myself applauding the tv, or catching a few tears as they slid down my face.  I know as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten a little more emotional, but I couldn’t quite figure out why dance was affecting me so much as of late. And the other night I figured it out. 

On both shows, once a competitor becomes more confident, more comfortable on their feet and on the floor, a transformation happens.  What initially started out as a bit of awkwardness, or lack of fluidity becomes perfection in the moment that they let go of their insecurities and allow themselves to really feel the dance.   Instead of being about the movements orchestrated by the choreographers, the captivation comes from the connection between the dancers and the emotions exhibited.  As I watched this week’s episode of DWTS, a few of the competitors experienced this transformation and the word that kept coming out of the judges' mouths when they praised and rewarded them with 10’s was “authentic.”  They finally forgot the stage, forgot the crowd, and let the steps be an extension of who they are, an extension of the joy, of the sadness, of the passion that they felt within.  The dance became authentic and it became free. 

Dancing isn’t supposed to be this scary, “I can’t move like that or people won’t think I’m cool” sort of thing, it’s supposed to be freeing.  To be an extension of who you are.  And I love that.

God created us in His image, but he did not make any of us even remotely the same.  We are unique – in the way we look, communicate, how we want to be loved, and in the way that we dance.   And He wants us to own that, to be confident in our crazy selves, and let the way we walk and talk and shake it be an extension of the joy and freedom we find in Him. 

If there’s one person I know who is as free as a bird when he dances, it’s my dad.  Get that man out on the dance floor and he’s twinkle toes with crazy shoulders meets incredible rhythm and a joy that is contagious. With a smile from ear to ear, he shakes his groove thang not for one second thinking about what other people think of him.  All he’s concerned about is trying to sing along to the song, and keep those feet and shoulders moving.

Instead of being worried about whether my go-to finger snaps, or “break my legs” movements aren’t cool, I want to dance more like my dad.  I want to embrace my sweet moves and glorify the Lord by proudly exhibiting the weird, silly 12-at-heart woman that He created me to be.  

If you’re ever tempted to avoid the dance floor because you don’t think you have moves, please throw that lie in the trash.  Wait for your favorite jam, take a deep breath, and run, jump, fist pump, twist, nae nae, wobble, twinkle toes or do whatever your fave move is all over the dance floor.  I promise you, it will be fun and you will feel free.  And if anyone looks at you, I guarantee it’s out of admiration and a jealous desire to be as brave and free as you are. 

You were fearfully and wonderfully made.  Don’t doubt that.  Go rock out. 

-- image by Marissa Maharaj --

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