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Dance Parties and Books

Lala Land dance Parties have become a thing of late at our house.  The kids put on the soundtrack, and vamp around the room dancing every which way  Four year-old No. 2 has settled into a decidedly beatnik shimmy of late.  He’ll plant his spread feet, shake his shoulders, and then, as he pulls his feet together, ooze to some other spot in the room before doing it all over again, perhaps throwing in a spin with his shimmy this time.  I’m convinced he’s channeling the dance he watched Audrey Hepburn at the French cafe in Funny Face.

Six year-old No. 1's, dances tend to be influenced by whatever she’s reading.  When she’s heavy into comic books, she might dance like a robot, making start again, stop again, syncopated movements around the den ala Cliff Steele, Robotman of Doom Patrol, or she might move from tree pose to tree pose spinning as she goes, ala Poison Ivy of Superhero High.  This week, No. 1 discovered a beginning ballet book from the ‘50s at the university library, so she’s moving in a slow and composed manner from one ballet pose to another.

Two year-old No. 3, has recently discovered the joy of spinning.  She’ll twirl through the room, pausing briefly to see if the room will in turn twirl on its own before launching into her next spin.  Today though, she’s latched onto what No. 1’s doing, and is earnestly imitating her every move.

I’m the unintended beneficiary of this particular dance party.  It just happened to erupt as I was sitting on the couch reading Ben Hewitt’s “Home Grown.”  Minding my own business, reading my book, I notice that No. 3 is doing something new this time.  After each ballet pose, she’s taking a full second to peer intently, directly at me with a focused gaze.  Perhaps she’s wondering what I think of her dance moves?  That’d be odd since none of the kids have ever so much as glanced at any of their unintentional audiences before.  They embody the phrase ‘dance like no one is watching.’  Just in case, the next time No. 3, peers my way, I grin and give her a thumbs up.  Her gaze is unflinching.  The grin, the thumb’s up, it’s like they never happened.  No. 3 is completely focused on... what?  I try a few more grins on the next couple of gazes between poses, but still nothing.

Finally, as the song ends, No. 3 strikes out directly across the living room, straight for me.  Well, not me actually.  Reaching out, No. 3 takes ahold of my hands and the book they hold, pulling it down and towards her.  Studying the image for a moment , her gaze changes from intent to resolved.  Sure enough, that is a book with kids in a forest on the cover, just like herself and her sibs.  Content, No. 3 returns to dancing on the next song, once again completely oblivious to the room’s other non-dancing denizens.


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