The Mom Dance
By Krista Martinelli
A couple of weeks ago I discovered the video “The Evolution of the Mom Dance,” with Jimmy Fallon and first lady Michelle Obama – and found it to be quite funny!
And it made me think about my own personal evolution of dance. In a very brief nutshell, here’s how it goes so far.
- The early childhood years – dancing without any inhibition. You know how it goes – dancing, shouting, drumming, primal stuff.
- The threat from my mother (“If you don’t act more ladylike, we are going to send you to ballet classes.”) Oh the horror, the horror! I was a tom boy, big-time, and so the thought of putting on a pink tutu and being forced to be graceful was a serious threat.
- The first official school dance, which was in 7th grade in Massachusetts for me. The good news – I got to go with the boy I had a crush on. The bad news – something about the whole scene made me nervous and I froze up completely – not dancing much, not talking much. And poor Josh concluded that I didn’t like him.
- More dances happened as we progressed into high school. A lot of these dances consisted of girlfriends dancing with each other and having a great time together. There would be an occasional dance with a boy, but these were few and far between, as they boys had to muster up quite a bit of courage to break into groups of girls.
- Dancing during the dating years. This is still a balance of trying to look cool and yet trying to loosen up at the same time. I have to admit that dancing was, for me, a better date than going to a bar and just sitting.
- Our first dance at our wedding day – to the tune of “You are the sunshine of my life” by Stevie Wonder. Joe and I did pretty well with this, thanks to a little coaching from my Dad, who had gotten deeply into ball room dancing. He informed us that this was a rumba and taught us what to do, just enough so we would look smooth for the first dance. Thanks, Dad!
- Dancing with our newborn baby girl. Dancing, grooving, bouncing – anything to keep her from crying. This is whole different sort of dancing where the goal is simply to keep the baby happy! And when she was born, another Stevie Wonder song was played often in our house, “Isn’t She Lovely?”
- Mommy & Me type classes with both of our kids. As a Mom, this is something I really enjoyed. Both my daughter and son really benefited from moving to the music at an early age (like 1) and so did I. When you’re sleep-deprived as a new parent, there’s something very special about getting together with other parents and young kids and just playing to the music. Often it’s the most fun part of the day.
- Fast-forward to today. My daughter is seven and not exactly a tom boy as I was. She loves dance and takes lessons at That’s Dancing, both ballet and jazz right now. Once in a while, when she’s preparing for the final show, I get to work on the steps with her and practice the routine along with a DVD. This is fun, and she’s more graceful than I am. But it’s all about enjoying the journey, right?
So in the words from that memorable song by Lee Ann Womack, when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, “I hope you dance!”
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance!
Krista Martinelli is the editor of AroundWellington.com, the online local publication for Wellington, FL and beyond. She is the mother of two kids and enjoys tennis & playwriting.