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Dance Like a 4-Year Old -- Writer's Poke #365

The philosopher John Michael Montgomery once wrote, “Life’s a dance you learn as you go; sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know.”

I took my daughter to our first daddy-daughter dance this weekend; I think both of us were a little bit uncomfortable, because neither of us knows how to dance. Heading out to the dance floor is kind of like volunteering to be thrown into the deep end when you don’t know how to swim.

Perhaps the threat isn’t the same. That is, if you flop around on the dance floor, at least you aren’t going to drown. The best approach to dancing is probably just to go with the flow of the music. Yes, there are specific types of dances, such as the waltz, which have systematic, ordered steps. Even so, I assume the key even to those dances is to “feel” the music and let it run through your movements.

For a daddy-daughter type of dance, just ignoring everyone else made it a lot easier. We weren’t there for anyone else, anyway, but it was amazing to me to see Octavia close her eyes and move to the music. It was a natural process. It wasn’t something she had to think about. And she wanted to take up more and more of the dance floor. She didn’t want to stay still in one position. She let her feet explore the territory. She threw her head back; she swung her body from side to side. She let the music lead without fear.

Is this what it means to plan to be spontaneous? We planned to go to the dance, but we had no idea what we’d do once we got there. Typically, if it had just been me, I would have sat in a chair the entire night and observed. That’s not the mindset of a 4-year old, though. She immediately wanted to be out on the dance floor, whether she knew what she was doing or not. She had no interest in playing it safe.

How do you dance? Why?

“I would only believe in God if he knows how to Dance.” -- Nietzsche


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