Dance has never been easy for me. Chemistry and Spanish were a breeze compared to the challenge of learning the dance routine for my cheerleading squad. Even today, I find a statistics class much easier than a Carolina Shag dance class. I was born with no rhythm and a general lack of body awareness. As a result, I’m a hopeless dancer.
Our first “visitor” from DSS had more natural dance talent in her pinky toe than I had in my entire body. Any tune would set her into motion. A musical toy? A t.v. commercial? A ringtone? The source was irrelevant. If there was a melody, she was moving. Her ears were listening for music and her body was ready to dance.
I was supposed to help her, but in reality she helped me. She taught me the value of dance years before I read that it was the most therapeutic type of physical exercise for those experiencing trauma. She seemed to know instinctively, what scientists would spend hours studying. Dance is good for a hurting heart.
I remember dancing as a child with carefree joy, but something happened. The cares of life and the worries of the world drowned out the music and left my body heavy. Dancing felt awkward and foreign. I became self-aware in the worst kind of way.
When our dancing guest left our home after a few months, the lesson stayed. The agile girl with chubby cheeks and graceful limbs taught me more than I learned in any class about foster care. She showed me how to listen for the music and keep dancing.
Since then my dance skills haven’t improved. If anything, they’ve gotten worse. But sometimes I hear a catchy tune, my foot starts tapping. I remember the dancing girl who taught me so much. Then I dance anyway.