Dance Like No One is Watching


I am not a slug.

In my Walter Mitty fantasy life, I am a Gwen Verdon Lola, sleek, supple and luscious.

One of the few good things to have come out of the stay at home order is on-line classes. I take Tai Chi, Jazz, Be Moved, Easy Improvising, Chair Yoga and Meditation all on Zoom. A different class or two or three every day as I am battling COVID-induced depression.

I am 67, retired and a cancer survivor. Some mornings, I suppress the urge to scream and cry. So, I move.

Gilda's Clubhouse in Chicago has Zoom classes for cancer patients and their friends and families. You don't have to be a member. Thanks, Gilda Radner, for inspiring such a haven, after you passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989. Lucky Plush Productions in cooperation with the University of Chicago has a fabulous virtual dance lab, with the most innovative and nurturing teachers I have ever met. Yesterday, I wrote about cooking and emotions and danced my feelings in my living room with the dogs underfoot. I am paring away negativity and blending in optimism to my frightened soul.

I am trying not to poach myself with alcohol. The Merce Cunningham Trust offers daily classes. I have been slowly working through a repertory workshop called "50 Moves." Each move flows through a series of steps and actions. It is making poetry and music with the body. You don't have to be a dancer to feel like the Venus de Milo. Or Rodin's The Thinker. It's very Zen. Check it out, all classes free, donations accepted. These are just a few organizations that are keeping me healthy and sane.

Maybe I will emerge from this pandemic, smarter, thinner, more creative and will have made new friends. Now, if I can put down the chocolate chip cookies and the Prosecco.

Dance like nobody's watching. Because nobody is.

Felicia Carparelli is a retired teacher, tap dancer and dog walker in Chicago. This essay is from her book in progress, Life After Medicare.

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