Those who know me well know that I like to dance. Amazingly, going to dance parties around the city has led to my making a good many friends. Which in turn has led to more free dancing opportunities.
I’m not the best dancer -the most skilled, rhythmic, or adventurous but I’ve got enthusiasm. I’ve got laughing. I’ve got style. Leaping and skipping and posturing; all manner of silliness.
Recently, a friend hosted an impromptu dance party at the gazebo on Jamaica Pond. Undeniable beats poured from her impressively loud ipod speaker system, and we were dancing like it wasn’t illegal (park doesn’t close until 11 PM, I hear.) What do we see suddenly but a gaggle of preteen girls swooping in?! The song we had been listening to at the time was a bit chill, a little complicated, so our host made quick dj decision. Beyonce shouts GIRLS! GIRLS RUN THE WORLD. And the girl gaggle before us stops short.
They’re unsure. A group of adult women and a few men dancing on the street at 10 PM. Is it safe, is it scary? To our disappointment, the girls retreat.
Oops, I thought. Was our response too enthusiastic? Enthusiasm and vulnerability, walking hand-in-hand. It was too much, I think, for these young people who have probably been drilled on the importance of safety -physical, emotional, and otherwise.
My theory is, if they’d been just a little younger, or a year or two older, the girls would have embraced our cheerful enthusiasm for what it was: an invitation to dance their hearts out, safely, among friends.