By David DeWitt
If there is one characteristic that stands out in Finn’s behavior lately, it’s that he wants to get his groove on.
Fall appears to have ushered in a time to dance.
And of course, that means we have to follow suit. (Who can refuse a five-year-old saying, “Come on let’s dance!”)
It certainly pulls you out of the doldrums.
What started it? Lady Gaga came up on shuffle on Erin’s phone one day. Finn wanted to see what she looked like and Erin showed him the Super Bowl halftime show. And the dance craze began.
There are other artists he routinely likes dancing to. Most notably Ray Charles and Mumford & Sons.
I dance on occasion to get my energy going. But it really does more than that.
It summons joy and authenticity. I love watching older people dance at weddings. Their moves are so uniquely expressive. I remember watching the chaperones at school dances when they would venture out onto the floor. You’d catch a glimpse of their teenage selves.
Finn’s moves are so uniquely him. Primal and playful. Lots of pointing, moving backwards in circles and tumbling on the floor (on purpose) all with a look on his face of absolute confidence.
Dancing is not only good cardio but has been proven to improve mental health and focus. It’s no wonder some motivational speakers begin their seminars by asking everyone to dance.
Ellen DeGeneres has figured out it starts things on the right foot.
I was surprised to read recently that a study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that dancing spontaneously on a regular basis could decrease dementia by 76 percent.
So why don’t we do it more? Maybe it kind of feels like wasting time. It feels silly as an older adult. Maybe it’s a little embarrassing?
Maybe we’ve been laughed at by someone at some point while dancing. I’ve experienced it. It’s kind of inevitable. You’re revealing a vulnerable part of yourself. Movements unique to you. It’s bound to crack someone up, especially if you’re awakening your teenage self.
So it takes a little courage to dance. That’s a good thing, to dance in the face of whatever real or imagined judgment may exist. To own your authenticity.
And perhaps the best thing is that it’s almost impossible to think about anything else while you’re dancing.
It plants you firmly in the now. Dance is like a meditation. Once you get over that initial shyness it immediately connects you to your heart and spirit. And to those dancing around you.
Erin and I are working on a song (“Our Children”) right now for a concert. It’s from the Broadway musical Ragtime. There is a line, “How they dance. Unembarrassed and alone. Hearing music of their own. Our Children.”
When we’re dancing as a family it’s kind of the ultimate connection.
We’re dancing, watching Finn dance, but he is totally focused. He’s creating each move. Occasionally making himself laugh. We’re there.
But he’s dancing like nobody’s watching.