Monday, August 16, 2010

Unorthodox Dancing Lessons

I am considering becoming an Orthodox Jew. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with my dancing.

My family calls the one dance step that I perform the Horace Mann shuffle. This is not meant as a compliment. It is a short hand reference to how they perceive the skill set of me and a number of my old high school classmates. For those of you who may be fans of Seinfeld, think of the memorable dance of Elaine, and multiply it many fold.

I don't know any other way. Once the music starts, the shuffle emerges. There is a biting of my lip (which is a trait I believe I share with Elaine), a contortion of my face, an awkward flailing of my arms, and a thrusting to my side of one leg and then the other. Joanne is left a helpless victim, a partner in name only.

For a person who gives the appearance of being coordinated, I often display complete physical ineptitude. I am that one guy in the crowd who can't do rhythmic clapping. Tapping to the beat of the music is a foreign concept. And then there is my dancing.

So, tonight, when I attended an Orthodox wedding, it came to me. From the youngest boy to the octo/nanogenerian, they were amazing. There was jumping, bumping, twisting, turning, smiling. I couldn't tell if they were all great but they were certainly not painfully awkward. And they seemed in control of the space they inhabited.

If I could only absorb what I saw this evening. I began to envision myself much like the young John Travolta, strutting and preening.

So while it may be true that white men can't jump, I have discovered that there is a certain portion of white men who can dance. If I am soon one of them, you will know that I took some very unorthodox steps to get there.

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