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Dancing Survival Guide For The Awkward And Rhythm-Impaired

George Michael said “Guilty feet have got no rhythm.” Well, by George, I’m headed for the slammer. WHAM. That’s the sound of my two left feet desperately trying to get their groove on.

I can’t lead but my dance partners sure can plead. “Wanna dance?” No I really don’t. “Come on, it’ll be fun.” Maybe it will be, if your idea of a good time is dragging a vertical lump of jello from side to side. “I love this song, let’s get out there!” I love this song too, I just have absolutely no idea how to articulate that affection via a twisted torso and flailing limbs.

For those similarly afflicted with a love of music, but a hate of dance, I’ve choreographed a cheat sheet to guide you through any event featuring a dj, disco ball or dance floor.

Safe Songs
The Bus Stop and the Nutbush are your safe houses. Bury yourself deep into the crowd. Ideally position your bod towards the back – someplace where you’ll have a clear sight line to one or two decent but distant dancers. Pretend it’s an aerobics class and just follow the leader.

Adopt a similar approach should the DJ throw you the lifeline of YMCA. God Bless America. As long as you know your ABCs this dance is like a game of Twister. Hand here, leg there and voila you got rhythm. As simple as building a Lego house.

Someone say hokey-pokey? Chicken dance? Hit that dance floor and flaunt what your Mamma gave you. It might be the only chance you get.

Injury Time Out
Warning – do as I say, not as I do.

At a friend’s wedding I was doing my best to remain upright whilst uptight on the polished timber dance floor. A few champagnes had afforded me a little more courage than usual. I tried an ambitious sidestep but misjudged the exact location of a nearby concrete wall. I heard a thump from my left pump.

Fast forward a couple of hours and my cocktail dress was hiked around my knee as the doc x-rayed my littlest left toe. He declared a fracture. I was in rapture. No dancing for moi for at least six weeks. Doctor’s orders. Hallelujah – an automatic hall pass to skip all upcoming dance parties.

You too can secure an injury time out with a simple foot bandage (required or inspired). At any function that humble, beige tourniquet will allay any fears you may have regarding the dreaded dance floor.

A sudden bout of either Bieber Fever or Saturday Night Fever can also act as a hall pass. Declare it an evening duvet day and watch re-runs of “So You Think You Can Dance,” secure in the knowledge that you can’t and you shan’t.

The Wing Man
Having a date is to the awkward dancer what night is to day. You’ll always meet halfway. Let him or her drag you round the dance floor a couple of times (because he or she is, as Paramore would say, the only exception). Then, for the remainder of the evening let your missus or mister keep you company on the bench. Sounds simple, right?

Wrong. You two need to have “the talk.” Before any potentially-dancing-date you have to set a few things straight. “What if someone asks to cut in?” “What if you’re in the washroom and I’m left alone?” “What if you’re at the bar and Tim wants to Tango?”

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Synchronize your cells. Have a simple hand signal that easily translates to “Save me, the DJ’s looking my way”.

Your exits are here, here and here.

You wouldn’t take off in an A380 without first listening to the safety instructions. In the event of turbulence you’re going to want to follow that red row of lights to your nearest exits.

So it is with the disco ball. Before the party really kicks in, follow those lights to find out the exact location of your nearest exits.

After a few obligatory jiggles and jives (or grunts and groans) you’ll be sniffing out that exit faster than you can say “rescue m……

Be fast, be quick, be Taylor Swift.

Karaoke Queen
Music is the soundtrack to most of life’s celebrations. So it’s fairly certain you’ll be visiting boogie town at least a dozen times a year. You’ll never gain full entry and you’ll never have a passport, but karaoke will grant you a working visa.

And yes you will have to toil for your spoil. Grab that mike and sing those lyrics like your life depends on it. Actually it just might. Put a foot wrong on the dance floor and you’ll be dubbed the dud dancer.

However, hit a wrong note on SingStar and the crowd will guffaw. They’ll be screaming for more. Throw them a wonky verse and a screechy chorus and their laughter and applause will have you soaring.

With a bit of luck you just might be crowned Karaoke Queen.  We all know you’ll never make Dancing Queen.

Take a Bow
Congratulations. You’ve just graduated from the school of “I-can’t-dance-and-I’m-cool-with-that.”

I hope to meet you some day. Don’t worry, we’ll recognize each other instantly. We’ll both be (a) waiting at a Bus Stop (b) wearing a foot bandage (c) clinging to our date (d) bolting through a door marked “exit” or (e) singing loudly and proudly.

I’ll be happy to chat with you. Just don’t ask me to dance.

by Tonia Zemek

You can follow her on Twitter @zeetw

Image via 8tracks