I was dancing with my grandson today. He is only 17 months old. He wanted me to teach him. Who’d think he would be so bold? (He didn’t really ask me, it was more of an unspoken request. He doesn’t have to talk a lot, hugs and kisses still work best.) I clasped his little hands and started to sway, moving with the beat, when low and behold I looked down and he was moving his feet! He couldn’t match the beat, of course. He simply is too small. But he looked up at me and smiled like he felt 10 feet tall.
I left the music behind and matched my steps to his own, and soon he was pulling me across the floor just like he was grown. He was stepping sideways and back and I just followed his lead. He looked up in amazement and filled my heart with greed. How could I absorb enough of this love and joy before adolescence plants its ugly seed?
He seemed to find it so funny that I was following him sideways and back. His smile was wide from ear to ear like his face was going to crack. I turned one hand loose, held the other and told him to spin around. He smiled and started spinning then fell laughing to the ground.
It seems no one has told him “That’s not what white men do.” You can move your head, you can move your hips, maybe a wiggle or two. You never pick your feet up or act like Fred Astair. You never shake and shimmy as if you haven’t a care. God forbid a Pirouette or a leap into the air.
I’m glad he is too young to know these things just are not done. I’m not looking for a Baryshnikov, just a child happy enough to dance in the sun. A child left free to laugh and learn to dance in his own way, to grow into a young man with the confidence to ask a girl to dance one day.