I remember with a face full of cringe being eight years old, arriving at a lower school disco and not quite knowing where to put myself. So what, you just go from normal walking to dancing without any build up? I couldn’t handle that. So instead, I did a quick skipping circuit of the school hall before finding my friends and joining in with the Agadoo. I think that was the first time I realised I was cool.
Then came the teenage years and the curious phenomenon of ‘the slow dance’. The holy grail of the dance floor where a boy is prepared to hug you and slowly turn around in a circle at the same time. Oh, to be one of those girls and not just standing on the side making “Woooo!” noises at them to disguise my intense loneliness. Yeah, being a teenager was ACE.
There were basically three routes to survival: do the Saturday Night dance routine to everything and pretend you’re being ironic, tap your feet from side to side in the hope that it will send you back to Kansas (or your actual home), or sit it out altogether, drink squash, eat crisps and convince yourself it’ll all be easier when you’re older.
Oh, but it won’t.
Because by then everybody knows what SEX is and that makes everything much more complicated.
It didn’t occur to me until I got to university that dancing and sex were in any way related. How could me spinning a pretend lasso around my head during 5,6,7,8 by Steps ever make anybody want to do THAT with me?
But then the first time I ventured into a club in Sheffield, I realised. Nobody in there was doing that routine (except me). No, most people had a very different thing on their mind and I didn’t know any of the moves.
I definitely hadn’t heard the word ‘gyrate’ before. For anybody who is unfamiliar, Urban Dictionary defines it as: shaking hips/body provocatively to attract attention (male or female).
Well, ‘When in Rome’, I thought. I gave it a go but suffice it to say any attention I attracted was not for the intended reasons. My fellow party people were just on guard in case they needed to call an emergency chiropractor at any moment. I didn’t do that again.
But then the university days pass and you become a real adult. Dancing is now only really done at weddings, work parties, in bars kind enough to throw on a bit of album track Take That, or when you’re cooking and you don’t think anyone is watching.
So when we do get to dance, we’ve got to make it worth our while. We can’t be worried about how we look to other people, or whether we’re going to pull a muscle. We need to climb on that Gangnam Style horse and not get off until our boyfriend, chum or Dad tells us it’s time to go home.
So when New Year’s Eve came around I grabbed the opportunity to throw some shapes with both hands. My legs ached for three days afterwards but it was worth it. I may even have worked off one of the three Christmas dinners I had.
As to what the next stage of dancing is, I don’t know. Dancing with kids? Maybe. Dancing with dogs? More likely. Or perhaps just dancing down the supermarket aisles when they play an instrumental version of Bohemian Rhapsody. I’ve already been doing that for years.
But until then, I’ll stick to the kitchen and the odd wedding reception dance floor. As long as they don’t mind me doing a quick skip-circuit first. I don’t want to look like an idiot now, do I.