Oh my days. I did not realise that I have not danced for more than a year! We just had a staff zoom meeting, which was really positive. Because my love is fast asleep after his night shift, I have taken my meeting as quietly as possible in the living room, with headphones on. After the meeting, since it was so happy and productive, I found I was smiling. To keep that positive feeling while tackling the many tasks discussed, I thought I’d put a happy tune on to accompany my work.
And oh my heavenly father these HEADPHONES. The first chords of this version of UB40s Food for Thought coursed through my skull and filled my entire being. I was instantly grinning. Head thrown back happy. And unable to sit still – thanking the length of the headphone cord – I have just spent a good ten minutes dancing to this awesome tune. Because of creaky floorboards, I had my feet planted still and made the most of what my arms and hips could do without moving my feet, which still felt amazing! If anyone looked up to our third floor window they would have been treated to some spectacular shapes! But more than that, my immense grin of brimful flipping happiness. Head thrown back laughing at the ceiling while my shoulders and hips obey they rhythm of some glorious tunes.
All this in complete silence while my love sleeps soundly the other side of that wall.
I forgot that while I worked at Cleeve, much as the days were rammed with the intensity of high pressured events and back to back rooms to prepare, there were snippets of time – after guests had checked out and before my gorgeous staff arrived – when the house was completely empty. The plinky plonky hotel foyer music got switched instantly to ‘Tunes to Dance around the house to’ at full volume. Greasy breakfast plates and piles of bed linen would sit untouched for a good half hour while I danced my exhausted ass off around the huge empty space, singing and moving with every last bit of energy. So without planning it, dancing was at least a weekly feature of my life.
I don’t have time to look up the clinical benefits of dance, but I’m going to guess it includes the combination of exercise, increased heart rate, music, singing (if he’s not asleep) and a sense of connection – to the musician and to anyone lucky enough to share the experience with you. There is also the principle of physiology determining emotion, so that if you have your arms in the air, your brain receives the message that you are celebrating, and it says ah, I’d better release those happy hormones for achievement then, and you feel even better.
There is the fact that when you feel low you don’t really want to dance and that just now my dancing was because I was happy, not in order to make me happy. But then there is an upward spiral of even more happiness as a result.
I need to make dance a part of my daily routine. I also need to get back to work, but not before a quick dancing tribute to this next tune from the Decemberists.