I’ve never been a dancer. I have always wanted to dance and in fact did so regularly, usually by lip-syncing into a brush while wiggling my hips around whatever room I happened to be occupying. But between anxiety and self-consciousness and any other number of things, dancing became a thing I only did in private.
I told myself a lot of things about dancing. I was too embarrassed. Too clumsy. Too uncoordinated. Too awkward.
And I believed that for a long time. I still believe that, a lot of times, but last year I took a pole dancing class for my best friend’s bachelorette party, fully believing it would be a fun experiment to do once before I went back to only dancing in the privacy of my own home, alone.
Only that didn’t really stick. Something about pole just works for me–maybe it’s the emotional music, maybe it’s the feeling of finally having strong arms, maybe it’s just being part of a group that supports one another. Whatever it is, I’ve been doing it for almost a year now. I don’t feel clumsy or awkward. I don’t always feel graceful, but even when I botch a fireman spin and end up flailing around, hands still on the pole as my legs try to find something to grab onto, I don’t freeze up and quit like I would have with anything else I wasn’t immediately good at.
It’s amazing to think that I dance in front of people now and don’t feel anything other than proud.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(Verb: From Middle English balteren, for “to roll, gambol, or tumble”)
To dance clumsily.
She knows what they think; their disdain rolls off them like a bad smell. Her hand trembles as she extends it and she stops herself from biting her lip, offering him a confident smile instead.
She’s seen enough of dancing to know that it’s harder than it looks. She’s also seen enough drunken stumbling to know that it’s not quite as hard as you expect—and besides, he is content to lead and desperate to prove something or he wouldn’t have invited her to dance.
Inhale, exhale. Step lightly. Step lightly. Soon they are dancing, and no one dares speak.