Back when she went by Peggy Jo, rolled her dungarees and flipped her hair, my mother used to jitterbug across the smooth, waxed floor of her parent’s basement.
Self taught in bobby socks, she and her friend Beanie spent hours practicing dance steps with whatever partners they could scare up from the neighborhood gang.
Their unbridled enthusiasm once landed poor Beanie in an ambulance, but her broken leg soon healed and the two friends danced on.
I’ve seen my mom polka with my Pap, an impressively fleet-footed coal miner; own the dance floor with “Sweet Shop”, a retired professional dancer more than half her age; and school her grandsons in the fine art of swing.
When we were young, my mom used to crank up the music and dance around the kitchen with a broom.
“She’s dancing with Bill Claire again,” my dad would say, in reference to my mom’s childhood pal.
The woman loves to dance. So, I knew, if I could coax her into a studio, she’d have a ball.
Last week, I took her to the Boogie Ballroom for a dance lesson. I grinned like a proud dance mom as co-owner Zeke Cribbs waltzed her around their beautiful studio.
Turns out my mom can still hoof it with the best of them. But, that wasn’t even the point. I don’t need my mom to take lessons to become a better dancer, or to prepare for an event.
I just wanted her to have fun.
Voltaire once said,”Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”
I’ll go Voltaire one further.
Dancing (and reading, for that matter) bring joy to the world. Dancing expands the mind and the lungs, it connects us with our partner and with our past.
My mom smiled as she whipped around that studio, and she challenged herself to learn new steps. She loved her lesson and can’t wait to go back.
I’m not sure what it is about dance and philosophers, but I’m going to throw one more quote at you.
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
I’m with him. Let’s go!
Here are a few pictures from my mom’s first lesson…
And here’s a little video I shot like a proud dance mom: