Dance party

Today’s story has an old and familiar beginning for me; I’ve been feeling tense and anxious about my performance in various areas, something which as usual has crept up on me over a period of time, and which I have difficulty controlling or shrugging off once it sets in.  I’ve got my ideas about why it’s here, but those will keep for another day.

One of the things I’ve been hard on myself about lately is my faltering practice of taiji, I have not been spending time working on my forms or movements outside of class, which is pretty much essential to develop the skills.  Two hours a week of practice isn’t going to go very far toward mastery, if that’s my goal, and I’m not even sure yet if it is (yeah, unclarity about goals is one of the things that makes it difficult to practice — something else I’m setting aside for now).  I was reminded the other day about something I heard in my early days of taiji but had forgotten: the Chinese expression for practicing or performing taiji isn’t actually “practice” or “perform,” but “play.”  They will “play taiji.”  I got stuck on that idea, because “play” doesn’t come into my usual mindset about learning this physical art.  It used to be more fun; now it’s become rather tense-making, because I have this feeling (like so many other things) that it’s about getting good and proving myself through performance, and that brings in a corollary uncertainty about whether or not I can even manage to do that.  No wonder I haven’t been practicing.

This morning I was musing about this, and then thought about my nephew, who is not quite two years old and is the sweetest, smileyest smiley boy I know.  One of the institutions which has developed at my brother’s house is that Smiley Boy will ask for his parents to put on some music, and then will dance with crazy, joyous abandon, singing if he feels like it and it’s a song that he knows (and he very definitely has his favorite songs, both little-people songs and big-people songs that his mom and dad listen to).  He is great fun to watch, but if you are ever privileged to be a guest in my brother and sister-in-law’s home when Smiley Boy decides to have a dance party, you will not be permitted to be a wallflower:  Smiley Boy will make sure you dance too.  The last time I visited Smiley Boy’s family for an evening, he fetched a stuffed Tigger out of his playroom, handed him to me, and went on dancing.  If I stopped moving, Smiley Boy would pause and give me a “what do you think you’re doing?” look; if I put Tigger down, I’d get the same look until I picked Tigger back up again.  Everybody dances when Smiley Boy dances, and in spite of themselves, everyone has fun.

So I thought about Smiley Boy this morning, and I remembered my iPod had stopped last night at a very appropriate song when I reached my apartment and got out of my car, and so I plugged in my speakers and had my own very small dance party, in Smiley Boy’s honor and because I need to loosen up sometimes, I need to do silly things before serious things strangle the life out of me, and I forget that.  I am often too serious, and life can’t be all seriousness.  So I danced.  I missed Smiley Boy’s company (and can he ever cut a rug, let me tell you), but even on her own, Aunt Crispy needs to learn to dance.

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5 comments so far

  1. Lynn on

    Dance, dance, dance!

  2. Naomi on

    I’m sitting here, thinking that’s a brilliant idea, just now realizing that I had had a car reserved so I could go dance with other people tonight. Oh, well–I’ll just have to dance around the kitchen for a while. (Thanks for the reminder–you just saved me $15!)

  3. brother on

    Life is to important to take seriously.

  4. Tamm on

    Smiley Boy is very much looking forward to having another dance party with his aunt Cris! he loves having a good time with you and would be so proud to know that he has influenced you in his dance madness!

  5. LabCat on

    Dancing at home is good fun. I do it quite often and have my favorite music to dance to.


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