Just dancing to the beat in my head (or, why I will never be a runner)

I’ve always danced, right from when I was tiny. Whether it was organised lessons (ballet, tap, modern and jazz, I’ll have you know), tearing up the Union ballroom on a Friday night or just twatting about in my room with the stereo on, it’s always something I’ve felt compelled to do.

I would spend hours as a child/teenager making up dances with my friends to the latest chart toppers and ‘perform’ them at school discos (the ’90s, amiright?) and I even ‘choreographed’ a routine with my best friend which we performed at a show put on by the dance school I went to.

Working out organised steps and building a routine that fits perfectly with the beat and conveys meaning is an art form and I wish I had the talent to coreograph professionally, I’m so envious of those who do.

Even as a child I knew I’d never be a professional dancer, although I definitely dreamed of it on occasion, but the short dumpy girl wasn’t going to be accepted to the Royal Ballet, no way, no how. I don’t think I was ever bitter about it, I just wasn’t built that way. It never dampened my love of watching others who did make it. I’m fascinated by musicals and dance troops and jump at the chance to go and see a show whenever I can. I get goosebumps seeing any performance, and I love a good flashmob, it makes me feel all warm inside.

For me, moving to music just makes sense, and apparently for my body it is unavoidable. It doesn’t feel like a chore.  I get such a sense of achievement when I nail a run-through of a routine at the tap class I currently take, and can fall about laughing when it all goes wrong.

Dancing is more than an activity, it’s an experience that you need to throw your whole mind and body into to get right. It’s not ‘switch off, head down, get it done’ like so many other forms of exercise.

I took up running at the beginning of the year and, whilst I feel great afterwards, it’s hard to motivate myself to go and I find myself counting down until I can stop. It’s just not the same and it’s why I’ll never be able to just go out and run for miles.

Dancing, though, I could do that until my legs give out (and frequently did in my university years), and then be sad that I have to stop.

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