Big Life Lessons from my Little Human: A Love of Spontaneous Dancing

Another piece I wrote for The Wokingham Paper on my daughter’s love of spontaneous dancing:

“I have noticed something rather awesome over the last few months. Something that makes me feel joyful, proud and all the other good feelings. It’s nothing huge, but significant enough that I’ll probably be talking about it in years to come when it inevitably comes to an end, as such things do.

I am referring quite simply to my daughter’s love of spontaneous dancing. I say spontaneous, though it tends to be brought on and accompanied by song. It also tends to happen, rather unexpectedly, outside of the home environment.

We were in Sedero a few months ago having dinner when it all began. I can’t recall the actual tune but she felt the urge to get up and get moving, dragging my compliant companion with her. “Come on! Dance with me!”. You don’t say no to that level of cheeky enthusiasm. They danced around in the middle of the room, surrounded by clearly-couldn’t-care-less diners. There was some swaying and an attempted twirl before my dear friend became conscious of what exactly was happening and made the decision to return to the table. Maia could have continued. We laughed about it all later that evening “Yeh they were just..bang in the middle! Dancing away! It was wonderful!”.

It happened again at breakfast in Côte yesterday, when she finished her pain au chocolat and couldn’t help but get down from her seat and begin jiggling around to the music. I did, for a brief moment, consider what others might be thinking. Does it bother anyone? Inappropriate for a restaurant? Then I saw the smile on her face, and stopped worrying. If anything I think it’s rather delightful. She’s five and she’s happy. Unhampered and uninhibited.

Of course, this little habit of hers hasn’t come out of nowhere. I’ve been dancing to music in my bedroom since I was four years old and encourage Maia to join me. It’s liberating, good for the soul, and parenting-wise a straightforward fuss-free activity. Her favourite tunes include Taylor Swift’s Shake It off and Beyoncé’s Run The World. Two amazing performers, one inspired little girl.

The moves aren’t confined to homes and restaurants. If I’m perusing in a shop and a song I’m particularly fond of comes on, I often feel obliged to move some part of my body, if not sing along.

This happened at Maia’s school fair when I was manning the silent auction next to the not-so-silent speakers just stationary-bopping along to the music. (Stationary-bopping: When good, dance-worthy music comes on and you just want to let it all out, shake something or twirl somewhere, but sadly cannot because you are standing alone in a public place, and such behaviour may be misinterpreted as utter madness by strangers or non-spontaneous-dancers.) The stationary bop is a somewhat discreet, side-to-side move, requiring minimal effort yet satisfying one’s need to dance without appearing completely shameless. It’s pretty flexible, open to interpretation, you can embellish the bop with hand and arm movements occasionally. Careful not to overdo it and break into an actual dance. We wouldn’t want to do that would we. Far too much fun to be had.”



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