about writing and life and God

A time to dance?

on November 4, 2012

Darkening sky,

as the day turns softly to night.

And I can curl up in front of the tv and watch the Strictly Come Dancing results programme!

Yes, I love Strictly. I’m amazed how ordinary folk who have no dancing experience can be coached and coaxed into amazing proficiency in a matter of weeks. I love to watch the girls gliding gracefully in floaty dresses (Denise van Outen last night was especially lovely.) And I find my toes tapping to the lively Latin music.

It reminds me we used to have dance lessons at school. In the winter months in the sub-arctic, there was no way we could go outside for games. Instead, we were lined up – boys one side, girls the other – and forced to pair up and learn how to dance.

What a horrendous mix of the truly cringe-making as you waited to be picked (ugh), and then ‘got into hold’ as the Strictly jargon puts it, with an equally embarrassed teenager to struggle through the steps of a Saint Bernard’s Waltz or the Valeta. Though on a good day there was the Dashing White Sergeant or an Eightsome Reel to burn off youthful energy.

There was pleasure in mastering the steps and making your way round the floor semi-competently – so long as your partner was semi-competent too!

Of course, I was a child of the sixties and soon the dancing we’d learned gave way to the Twist and the Shake when you didn’t really need a partner at all! Girls danced in little gaggles, relegating the boys for that all-important Engelbert Humperdink  ‘Last Waltz’ when no real dancing was required in the shuffle round the floor.

I have a friend who goes to Flamenco dancing classes. I went a few times to a great Line Dance class. And once, a while ago, another friend taught me a few belly dancing moves. Lots of fun! We were at the office at work and she taught a group of us so we processed along the corridor shimmying as taught…

Dance is fun. But it does take a bit of learning. Listening to Len and Craig and co. (the Strictly judges) witter on about fleckles and suchlike makes me realise just how much there is to the graceful performances we’re watching.

Is there something here to learn about the things that matter?

We get out pretty much what we put in. I’m not prepared to put in hours learning to dance, so I’ll never be as good as the Strictly folk. And I don’t think I want to labour at baking or pottery or horse-riding or lion-taming or tightrope-walking. But I am willing to put in the hours on the things I care about.

One life. It’s good to focus on what matters.


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