I’ve always wanted to dance enchantingly with my husband. I would picture candle lights reflecting our shadowed forms as we dance in sensuous steps to soft music just like the books depict. I could imagine dancing in the soft lights of a party in which the DJ announces that all couples must come together and dance to the next slow song. I’ve imagined the bright lights of the discotheque where couples twirl with each other guided by the male partner. I pictured a tall macho husband whirling me easily on the dance floor, like the movie heroes do. I pictured my slim waist, our happy faces, his strong arms and my lithe body to complete the picture.
Alas, there are strong arms and happy faces but the rest is all missing.
For my dear husband is absolutely embarrassed about dancing in public. Even if I drag his protesting form to the dance floor he faces away from me and looking elsewhere dances without me, while I make eyes at him, hinting him to dance with me and not away from me.
For someone who cannot sit still when music is being played, it is quite a dampener when the partner doesn’t share the same sentiment.
And when I see other couples dance romantically with each other, I nudge him and point to show him what he is missing.
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I’m a Kathak dancer, but alas I’ve never learnt the Western form of dance. I watch with a pang each time perfect couples move on the dance floor, their bodies in tune with each other, their steps matching the beat of the music and their faces flushed with happiness. Several times I’ve danced alone to music, holding a large pillow as a substitute for the missing partner but alas, I’ve never danced with a real partner ever.
I was very keen that the hubby and I dance on our engagement night. So I suggested that both of us enrol for a formal class and get the basics right so that the onlookers could sigh,”What a lovely couple, what perfect coordination, what chemistry”. I pictured a salsa, or good old ball dance. Perhaps a tango or dare I say my favourite waltz in which we would spin around the dance floor rapidly.
But the husband vehemently refused to make a fool of himself in a dance class and proceeded to make a fool of me every time we happen to step on the dance floor.
We have attended several weddings and therefore several dance parties, but the husband has learnt his lesson. At first, he plays the avoidance game, keeping away from the dance floor for as long as he can. When it becomes impossible to refuse the several calls to come to the dance floor, he adopts the first line of defence. He fishes out his camera and hangs the heavy device around his neck. Now for any dancer worth his or her salt, apart from dancing the second most important aspect is the photograph. They need someone to take their photographs in unique poses. Therefore, people forget about his non-participation and pose for several photographs. I somehow find my way to reach him as he continues to dodge me, moving around with just the right speed to escape from my clutches without looking suspicious. When I do reach him, I hiss, “Are you the official photographer? Keep the camera aside and join the group.”
The husband obliges but keeps his distance from me lest I, in my bid to compete with the other couples in Public Display of Affection, grab him and force him to dance with me.
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Therefore to my rescue are safer forms of dancing like dancing with children or with the gang of friends. My heart however weeps every time I watch my husband fix his feet and legs to the dance floor and shake his torso in an apparent rhythm which never changes irrespective of the song. This is his best attempt to remain on the dance floor, lest he is singled out for being a non-participant.
I rush towards my children, the poor unsuspecting souls who are busy with other children. I grab them and one by one, pile them on to him.
As one child climbs on his back and pulls him backwards and the other suspends himself from his neck and pulls him forward, his backward and forward oscillation with the legs fixed on the floor for fear of losing balance, looks normal.
Thus, I have passed the crucial 30s of our life. But now we are in our 40s. The children have grown and can no longer be the foil to the husband’s dancing skills. Perhaps it isn’t too late to learn the Western style of dancing. We must be ready to embarrass our children at their weddings. Perhaps I could still persuade the husband to join me for a class.
Can’t or won’t dance together? Aarti Pathak has a useful list of activities that would be fun to do together otherwise.