I would love to be able to dance. But I can’t dance. You could say, I don’t have a dancing bone in my body. Around 5 or 6 years old, I went to ballet and remember being more interested in pressing the buttons on the tape recorder than balancing on one leg in my tutu. Today I found a certificate from 1982 – a dancing exam I undertook when I was 6 years old. It reads, my Barre was a ‘pass’ but I was unstable in stance, my musicality was satisfactory but (the redeeming sentence) my dance was a ‘happy presentation’. I vaguely remember the stress of the exam and trying my hardest to grin insanely throughout!
Smiling Flower has no hearing and no vestibular system for balance. Her joints are ‘hyperflexible’ – possibly good for yoga but this also complicates her attempts to balance. Combine that with my genes and you would be forgiven for thinking that dancing wasn’t going to be something she excelled in. So, it came as a big surprise to pick her up from school one day and be told that she had greatly enjoyed a signing and dancing session and was ‘a real little mover’!
Last week we went to watch her strutting her stuff across the primary school stage as a little bird in their Wizard of Oz Christmas play. At 3½ years old, cute doesn’t even begin to describe it. Bursting with pride we sat watching our little ‘groover’, who was rather mesmerised by the stage lights and looked several times like she was going to launch straight off the stage. ‘Dorothy’ clearly had strong instructions to keep her safe and together they managed to wiggle and groove to the birdie song in a thoroughly gorgeous manner…
Rumi, one of my favourite poets, said this: ’Dance when you are broken open… dance in your blood, dance when you’re perfectly free.’ There are many moments now when we break out into spontaneous, often silent dance. It is healing, uplifting and often downright funny.
Smiling Flower: defying the odds, breaking the rules, inspiring abandonment with her own perfect freedom. Its freezing cold as I write this minus 4C with a bright blue sky. We’ve all been awake since 4am and I am feeling fairly weary. But, for me, smiling flower graced her school stage like summer rain. She exhausts us – but every now and then gives us a little vision, and it waters the parched bits of Pete and I and keeps us growing as parents.