Perspective on dancing changes

As we age, we tend to dance a little bit less, Jim McGregor notes.

We were at a Soroptimist fundraiser last weekend. They filled us full of Atlantic lobster and then, just about the time I figured I should loosen my belt, put my feet up and snooze, they cleared some tables and started dancing.

I used to dance a lot. Back when the fire department was 75 per cent social and 25 per cent firefighting, all the fire halls and community halls had dances. We had a Halloween dance, a Christmas party, a New Year’s Dance, a Valentine’s dance, a Robbie Burns night, and a St. Patrick’s Day dance and sometimes we had a dance just because we hadn’t had one for awhile.

Sometimes we would hire a local group to play and then it was DJs with an endless supply of music, old and new. When I was limber and agile, there were a couple of us that could do the Kazatsky to the Russian song, Rasputin. I could cross my arms, kick out my legs and entertain the crowd for the entire chorus. Two years ago when someone coaxed me to do it, I got a terrible cramp in my calf after 30 seconds and had to be helped off the dance floor. You can’t go back.

Usually, about eleven o’clock, one of our elder members, Tony Slogar, would start complaining about how loud the music was and we would all say that we never wanted to get that way. We would take up a collection to pay the DJ for another hour and the dancing would continue into the morning.

This night, full of lobster, I did more watching than dancing. The dancers were energetic and enthusiastic but few of them would ever be asked to appear on Dancing with the Stars. Some were dangerous to others, swinging, jiving, kicking their legs and flailing their arms. They probably should have been surrounded by yellow tape — an accident waiting to happen.

There was the constant group of women that always get up and dance together because their partners are ready for a nap. Men never get up and dance together in a group, and that’s probably a very good thing.

There is always the dancer that begins vibrating as soon as the music starts and doesn’t miss a dance. Plucking people from their chairs or just joining in with other couples, the Lone Arranger is on a mission to make sure everyone is out on the floor.

Some folks dance to their own drummer and some dance to the same beat every song, whether the music is in sync with their moves or not.

Then there is the couple that have been together for years.They choose their song and find their spot on the floor. Their hands automatically slip into place and they become the music. They slide and glide across the floor in perfect rhythm, oblivious to the others. They assume their roles of leading and following that were established in their dance long ago. With synchronized footwork they know when to change direction to avoid disaster and that comes only with time and practice. How fortunate we are to find such a partner to dance through life with.

As the night wears on, we have danced to our favourite tunes but now we yield the floor to a younger crowd and Lady Gaga.

Tony, if you’re listening, I’ll admit that by 11, the music was way too loud. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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