"What A Feeling" (Memories of a Tiny Dancer)

I recently acquired a copy of “Flashdance...What A Feeling”. It’s a single release on a 45 record from 1983. It reminds me of a passion I once had.

In early 1983, I was six years old. I can’t recall what time of year it was, but my parents took me to the movie theatre. We watched, “Flashdance” for the first time. I often wonder now what they were thinking, I wouldn’t take a six year old to that picture. Nevertheless, I saw it, bigger than life. It must have made some kind of impression on me, because I spent the next few years completely engrossed in the theme song. Dancing my young little heart out. Over and over again, I’d dance to the entire soundtrack. I had it on cassette, and would blast it full blast on the living room stereo. I believe it was an emerson. Complete with a record player, 8-track, cassette deck, and radio. Two giant speakers took their places on either side of the unit, and it all rested on an old  dining room sideboard.

It was the theme song, though, that truly motivated me. The music starts, and I am on the floor: still. My head hangs, chin on my chest, arms at me sides, hands on the floor. My legs tucked under me, and my back to my audience. I make myself so small, insignificant on the stage in my mind. Then the words begin, and I rise from the ground, like a lotus from the depths, back still turned to the audience. “First when there’s nothing, but a slow, glowing dream.” Carefully moving to the swell of music, I begin to move. I raise my hands to the sky. I believe it was graceful and powerful, but I never saw myself dance. I just felt that it was so. It is what I believed, and it was my means of conveying the emotion that the song evoked.

“All alone I have cried silent tears full of pride. In a world made of steel. Made of stone”, then the pace of the music increases. I turn to face my audience. I move through my motions as the song progresses.

“Well, I hear the music. close my eyes, feel the rhythm wrap around take a hold of my heart”.

“What a feeling!”, and the music changes intensity. I kick my legs high above my head, jump and spin, and cartwheel! “Take your passion and make it happen”...my soul and my dance soar in unity. Spinning (I was a particularly good spinner in ballet) and dancing throughout the giant living room stage.

The music fades out with the words, “I can have it all”. I stand center stage, facing my audience, and bow my head, triumphant.

I practiced alone often in the living room. But that wasn’t all. I shared this particular dance every chance I got. Talent shows, church events, family reunions, private viewings for friends and family in the living room theatre.

I was a tiny dancer, always small for my age.Unbeknownst to me, I also had a heart arrhythmia. I don’t recall the doctor saying when I was 12 that I should stop dancing, but it seemed at home that there was that expectation. I stopped dancing without complaint or tears, seemingly, I had a high threshold for disappointment. In my life since, I’ve never been told that a strange heart rhythm is physically limiting in any sense. So I’m not really sure why I stopped. I do know that listening to this song again, with intensity of memory and its overarching theme, that there will never be any reason for me to set my passions aside again.  

Today, I once again perform my dance for anyone who reads this. Reconnecting with that little girl, I bow my head before you, triumphant! I practice my passion of creativity everyday, figuratively dancing my way through life.