So… YOU think you can dance?

Dance is a language I understand, but cannot speak.

I lost 100lbs with private intentions of finding dance classes as reward for that particular long haul. I’m a little embarrassed, really, to admit this… but… I love So You Think You Can Dance. I remember the exact moment I fell in love with dance* — 1:15 into this number:

The moment Travis’ body pours down that bench, I had a moment of MIND = BLOWN. I did not know human bodies could do things like that. It was real, biological magic. I know that some kind of spiritual intervention must’ve taken place, because even today when I watch that clip I can tune out the fact that Celine Dion is singing. 

I fell in love with contemporary dance that very moment.

Years later, by the graceful happenstance of this living world, I would marry a yoga instructor with a contemporary dance background. Most recently, I’ve learned yoga and spent 6 months in physical therapy, both of which are excellent starting points for learning body movement fundamentals. My wife loves the show now as much as I do — she and I both get giddy over contemporary and hip hop numbers performed well.

I never danced before because I was too heavy to not just be a “Chris Farley’s Van Down By the River” of myself. The best feedback I’d ever gotten years ago was an unsolicited guffaw of “She looks like a retarded hamster!” Hurtful, yes, but not entirely inaccurate.

I dance around the house more than I ever have before, but turns out that now I’ve largely lost the ability to change directions quickly. “Changing directions quickly” is kind of how dance works. Last night we watched the season 11 finale of SYTYCD and tears crept out: I had begun to feel brave and with adequate potential for the first time in my life to begin finding the right kind of movement, and now one spin hazards a fall.

Please don’t think me maudlin on this entire affair — I don’t like to be told what I can’t do. There have got to be workarounds, and maybe it is those very workarounds that will lead me to the place I need to be.

For example, car dancing:

At the end I realize this is being taken and yell "STOP!"

At the end I realize this is being taken and yell “NO!”


*Oh, I did tap and ballet as a young’n. I remember at my first — and only — recital being the big girl at the end of the row who stepped the wrong way and knocked everyone off number. I remember looking into the audience the moment it happened and seeing, through stage lights, a big-haired blonde woman with her mouth open in laughter. Yeah, that was about the age I assumed dance was not for the chunky.

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