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Dance Like a Four-Year-Old

My son has the best technique I've ever seen.

Every time he dances, he's completely in the moment. He's wholly absorbed. He's in his body. He never gets into his head. His body is completely fresh. It doesn't have a lifetime of stuff packed into it. It has no ingrained bad habits.

Therefore, he has perfect posture. So that's what they mean by “just straight.” And someone who would know said, “his head is perfect. Watch him and do that.” It rests on top of his spine like the ball on top of a flag pole (aha!). His spine doesn't compress down with the weight of a daily grind, either—I can practically see the Alexander Technique in action in him, each vertebral disk getting its full complement of air and space, neck and head rising effortlessly upward, while everything remains firmly rooted into the ground.

He has nothing going on in his shoulder girdle. No tension, no emotional drama, no muscular misuse. His back is totally relaxed. His feet point in exactly the direction he's walking. And he doesn't even try, it just happens that way. No thought. No doing.

Then when he moves, he doesn't think about it either. He just goes. “Just natural,” as the great maestros like to say. His trunk moves as one piece, in the direction he's going.  His legs go because his intention carries his body somewhere and if the legs don't go he'll fall over.

He doesn't rush.  He waits patiently and when I lead he goes where I put him. No more and no less. Then he waits again. His waiting isn't filled with tension, effort, or anticipation. He is just Non Doing. He doesn't get all worked up about taking the step, either, even though he loves dancing and he loves dancing with me.. He just takes the step. No big deal.

Ok, sometimes he decides to throw in a few adornos of his own. He loves pausing once in a while and doing a quick (and nonchalant) succession of boleos. But maybe only once in a couple of tandas. Just enough to put his own stamp on the dance, while still letting me lead.

His embrace is wonderful. It's completely matter-of-fact. Relaxed, affectionate, accepting, without getting all worked up. Of course we love each other! That's life! Let's dance! He doesn't think about it at all. He just does it. He embraces me sturdily and presently without weighing me down with any heaviness. He snuggles into my chest and I feel his little energy radiating into me.

He is also an ideal date. “I can't wait to go to tango and meet new friends!” he says. He wants to dance, and he wants to dance with me, but more than that, he enjoys the whole social event. He loves listening to the music. He loves sitting by himself and watching the dancing (and claps at the ends of tandas). He is friendly and polite with people who come over to visit him. He understands that even though I came with him I can still dance with other people and it has nothing to do with how much I love him. He understands the ideal concept of a “social dance” with an effortlessness that the rest of us may spend the rest of our lives sorting out.

Best of all is the quality of his dance. It is fresh, unstudied, and free. It is full of joy, calm, and unprocessed affection. It sparkles with excitement, yet is completely peaceful. His dancing makes him happy.

And that makes me happy.

And you should see us dancing around in the living room: la joie de la danse, incarnate.

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