Dance Like No One Is Watching…Because They’re Not

I was so far beyond my comfort zone, so vulnerable on display for this small group of girls to ridicule. Maybe they wouldn’t say anything to my face.

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I tried to keep my eyes shut so that my brain would believe that we were going to keep sleeping. It didn’t work. So I pulled out my phone one more time to look at the upcoming Summer dance class I had casually stalked every night for the past three weeks. 

I danced once. I’ve never been formally trained (no prima ballerina here), but I’ve had a little intermittent training. Most of what I’ve ever done has come from watching others and replicating it. However, at one point in my life, it was my only creative outlet. It was a passion. I often learned random dances, sought-out new ways to stretch, and choreographed combos in my mind to the tunes blaring in my car. 

Then I had a few kids, drifted from some of my old dance friends, grew up and out of that world. I was never going to be as good as I wanted to be anyway (hello, 30s). It was something I could look back fondly on. Those were the good ole dancing days I’d tell my kids about when they thought I wasn’t cool. 

But one day, a Facebook post captured my attention, and I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t stop waking up in the middle of the night to read it over and over again. An incredibly talented dance teacher was offering a Summer Worship Dance class, all ages and levels welcome. Since I equated myself to not even having a level, I finally decided to message the teacher and just ask if there was a space for me. She graciously opened up her heart to my desire (or took pity on me; that hasn’t been deciphered quite yet) and insisted that I attend the class. At this point, I couldn’t say no. Not that I ever wanted to in the first place. 

I just knew before I even stepped foot into the studio that I’d be the oldest one there and I would most definitely have the most kids. Four kids seem like a lot to this only child. But wouldn’t it be just like my humorous Father to put me in a class with a woman who has six children?! I literally laughed out loud and immediately bonded with this vibrant mama. 

Even though my six-kid friend was once a trained ballerina, I felt more at ease just knowing that maybe her body wouldn’t function like an 18-year-old’s anymore (this is quite inconsiderate of me, and I’m completely aware of it). She was poised, though, and before the music began, I knew I was still in way over my head. 

I was so far beyond my comfort zone, so vulnerable on display for this small group of girls to ridicule. Maybe they wouldn’t say anything to my face, but of course, I’d be the comedic relief all summer. As I attempted to follow the instructor and the goddess of a dancer beside her, I realized that the only eyes on me were my own two eyes critiquing everything I wasn’t doing correctly in the mirror in front of me. 

Every dancer, at all different levels, was focused on herself. Focused on getting each move right and focused on her own passion and breath. We moved separately but together, and we built comradery with our motions. It was beautiful. 

By week two, all fear was gone, and all expectations of myself had dissipated. I just wanted to move. I wanted to feel alive again. I hadn’t realized just how long I had been holding my breath to dance again until my legs were telling a story once more. I needed this class way more than they needed me. But that’s okay because I’m just going to keep dancing like no one is watching— since they really aren’t anyway.



Featured Image by Quân Nguyễn

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About the Author

Kassi Russell is a wife and mom by day, and a writer by night (and in the car, or at soccer games). Kassi is originally from Greenville, SC where she and her husband met in middle school and have been married for 11 years. Her passion for writing blossomed in Atlanta, GA where her four children (ages 8, 6, 2 and 1) completed their tribe. She is currently writing a series of children's books and blogging. Along with writing she enjoys music and arts, the great outdoors, and well-written movies.