Dancing With Sarah

I’ve just turned 41, and as ages go, it’s an odd one. It’s not an event like 40 was, and telling people “I’m 41…” feels like I am describing someone else – older, possibly wiser and far more mature than I am. 

Sarah turns 41 soon, and we discussed this uncomfortable non-age as we drove to T’s burlesque show. “It’s like there’s nine more years of non-event birthdays until we hit 50,” Sarah said. We settled into a thoughtful silence, considering this fact. 

Soon, though, we were entranced by the sultry syncopating music and sensual goddesses of the burlesque at Cape Town’s Truth on Buitenkant Street. The scantily-clad women coyly teased the audience with playful numbers as they revealed their beautiful, voluptuous curves. Bustiers and demure gloves arced over the crowd and tassels twirled delightfully in time to electro jazz. 

The rhythm was infectious. Foot-tappingly, hip-swayingly, head-bobbingly infectious. And as the burlesque show ended, Sarah looked at me and said “Do you dance, Dave?”

Of course I dance. I danced through my twenties, well into my thirties. God, did I dance! But…the dance was always powered by lots of little pills and long, powdery lines and buckets of tequila. These not only lowered my inhibitions, they hit them over the head and threw them in the lake, with weights tied to their feet! Wasted, I would dance like a demon for hours on end.

But I’m 41 now, and sober…as I watched Sarah whirl off onto the dance floor, playing with the music, I felt unsure of myself. I would be clumsy, self-aware and uncoordinated. I would make a fool of myself. 

The beat was driving up through the floor, though. Driving up through my legs and deep into my soul. How could I just stand there, while the sounds seduced Sarah, alone? No. I couldn’t! 

Bouncing onto the dance floor next to Sarah, I surrendered to the music. The synths and drums dropped 3D sound all around us, as feet stepped, hips swayed and hands and fingers snapped and clapped in point and counterpoint to the beat. 

It wasn’t long before broad smiles erupted on both our faces, followed by loud, joyful laughter. There was no ‘cool’ or dance floor attitude required – there was only fun; childlike and beautiful. We laughed and twirled and danced and danced and danced, until the songs ran out, and we collapsed, exhausted, euphoric, onto the bar stools. 

Yup. 41. Sober. And dancing with Sarah was more fun than I’ve had in 20 years. That thing about dancing like nobody’s watching? It’s true, you know…

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved.


    1. We had so much beautiful, unadulterated fun, playing with the music as if it was a living thing, dancing next to us. Complete happiness!

  1. I loved reading this – you have such a talent for writing! You should write a book!
    I am so glad I now know about the burlesque shows at Truth – so badly want to go, and it’s at ny favourite coffee bar. As far as dancing – i dance like an idiot, and on purpose. I love it, it keeps me young! I do it in public and at home with my kids – at home because its part of my strategy to help ny kids to not be too self concious. In public because I can’t dance. It is so much fun!
    Happiest Happy Birthday to you – I hope you got spoiled rotten.

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes and compliments on my writing! And you absolutely must go visit the burlesque shows! It’s such a humbling experience watching the dancers celebrate their bodies through this playful, arty dance that refuses to take itself seriously.
      What a beautiful lesson you teach your kids, too! “Dance like no one is watching” applies to so much in life, and should be learnt as when we’re as young as possible!

  2. Dave, I am turning 45 soon, life is wonderful and indeed I only learned to dance like no one is watching in my 40’s. The great thing about getting closer to 50 is that the dancing gets better for me! Enjoy, as my yoga teacher used to say, the journey is nothing, it’s all the lovely stops we make along the way that is wonderous!

    1. Willie, I agree with your yoga teacher – as I look back over 41 years, I am glad to know that that mindset is one I have espoused already for many years – stopping (metaphorically) in a moment to just be and sense this passing present.

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