I realized that I learned how to dance (or was influenced) from watching the rhythmic flowing moves of the Spartan Cheerleaders on Saturday Night Live.
My wife and I were hanging out on the couch channel surfing and enjoying the day off together. After a while we came across a channel playing old Saturday Night Live episodes. This minor moment, sitting in front of the TV, finger mindlessly and repetitiously smashing a button on a remote, changed my perspective on understanding the small influences that play into people’s lives.
Cheerleading for a chess tournament is a great set up for a joke but nothing more not something that influences people’s entire lives. We were watching these two characters on our little TV screen and I noticed a look creep across her face, at first I thought she was confused by the SNL skit, but as I watched her watch the Spartan Cheerleaders dance for a little while she started to say things like “hey you do that!” and “Oh God! Did you learn to dance by watching this!?” I then understood the look wasn’t confusion but recognition.
I chuckled and thought she was making a bad joke, I focused on our TV set and the longer I watched Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri dance their moves I recognized more moves from my own bad-ass repertoire. I realized in that moment I was not in fact a good dancer, just a confident dancer and I confidently moved like Saturday Night Live’s Spartan Cheerleaders.
I can now, looking back, only think about how Luke Skywalker felt, dangling, hand chopped off telling his evil and its maligned realization, “NO… No, it can’t be true!”
It was a moment of stark and immediate transition from judging the actors on the screen for being goofy dancers to ‘my god I am a goofier dancer and I learned from them’. After considering this life altering event I have reassessed and I’ve now determined not I nor the Spartan Cheerleaders are bad dancers, we just do like we do.
I’ve never been a great dancer. There are many times in my life I can look back to with fond reminiscences of moments I spent dancing. Skanking the night away at ska shows or dancing and slamming into others in the pit at punk shows. At prom, where I had more than one fine lady dancing around me, causing my teenage raddled brain to think that there was not a person that graced this green earth that pimped harder than I pimped at that moment.
I’ve done the robot everywhere my boots have led me, from the top of Rocky Mountain peaks to the ancient land of Afghanistan, from my mom’s Baptist church to that Taco Cabana I went to that one time. My twenty-first birthday celebration was a celebration for everyone in that upstate New York dance club when I fused Merengue, Booty Shake, the robot, and the sprinkler all into a terrible concoction that never should’ve been released onto this plane of existence. Ladies were throwing themselves at me and it was very nice of them to do so.
I do the tootsie roll without remorse, I shake my ass without course. I dance when I wanna, when the heart yearns for it, when acting the fool is my destiny. I don’t know if it was Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri, curse or blessing, or just a nudge in the right direction. A nudge that told a younger me that if I was dancing to not give one single fuck, not even if I’m a distraction my own team because… damnit I am dancing and you can excuse yourself from my awesome if you can’t handle it. To all the goofy or bad dancers, grab yourself some courage whether in giving it all away in the spontaneous awakening of your consciousness when you step on the floor or a beer or some shots, and get on the dance floor and join me in shakin’ that ass.
Like the lady said in some variation, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.”
So get out there and dance motherfucker, dance.