In my earliest memories of dancing, I’m under my auntie Nancy’s dining room table, (which had been pushed off to the side of the room), watching my mom, dad, aunties, and uncles all dancing on the hardwood floor to a never-ending stack of 45 records, dropping one after the other. I remember foot-high stacks of 45s all around the record player. The song that I remember playing most? Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke. Every time I hear that song, I remember auntie’s spontaneous dance parties. What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?
That was not dancing.
I really couldn’t call it dancing. Well, at least not what most would consider as actual dancing.
My parents and just about every grownup around me then did not show me any form of dance. And what little I knew I learned from MTV. But I didn’t know it was called dancing; all I knew was people moved in funny ways, other than what I was used to seeing every day. It didn’t look bad—just foreign.
But what was danceable on TV wasn’t found on radio; not when I was in control.
As a kid, I wasn’t equipped with the know-how to change the dial, much less tell the difference between AM and FM band. But I had access to my parents’ records. And of their trove of folk rock and adult contemporary of the time, there was the lone standout: a coverless Beatles anthology cassette tape.
Since I was alone often, it was easy to just do silly stuff like how they move in music videos. So imagine a preschooler using 80s dance moves for 60s tracks. It gets sillier the more I relive it but—despite being ignorant of what I was doing or what was happening—I never felt lonely during those times. It always seemed like there was a band whose name I did not know then was playing songs for me and only me.