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We Got the Beat...

by Stacey Libbert


I had a stereo, a hairbrush, and a box full of thrift shop dresses and my grandmother’s old nightgowns.  I twirled and kicked, spun gloriously around my bedroom floor, grabbed hold of the bed post, my makeshift dance partner, waved my arms and hands in the air and sang every word to every MGM musical I knew.  I was a star.

It would be easy to say, “If I had a dollar for every hour I spent watching myself mime the words to Judy Garland’s songs or the dialogue from Gone With the Wind, I’d be rich,” but I don’t need a dollar.  The hours themselves are what really made me rich.

They gave a shy, quiet girl who dreamed of being able to openly express herself hours of creative, wildly imaginative play.  Oddly enough, those hours in front of my bedroom mirror were some of my happiest.

Even now, I enjoy a good whirl around the floor in front of a full-length mirror.  Maybe I’m a closet diva.   And my child is a full-on, put-it-all-out-there diva who has no hesitation about displaying her awesomeness on a regular basis.  As soon as she was able to bounce her diapered bum to the beat, the two of us have enjoyed “spontaneous dance parties”.

In time, her brother joined us—first, as an innocent bystander in the baby sling and later as a full-fledged member of our spontaneous dance troupe.  His little boy dance style is more aggressive and looks more like exaggerated martial arts moves than actual dance moves, but they are musical and joyful and BIG. 

That’s the thing about spontaneous dance parties in the privacy of your own home.  You can go BIG all the way.  It’s a moment of total freedom, a dose of wild abandon.  It’s medicine for the soul.

Conventional wisdom will tell you that these kinds of activities are good for children.  They encourage healthy exercise and provide an outlet for creative expression.  I agree whole-heartedly.  But I will also assert that those who need it most are not necessarily children. Children, by definition, are wild artists, original dancers, radical singers, and generally free spirits.  It’s who they are, who they were born to be.

It’s us older kids who have lost some of our luster, our shine, our BIGness.  Dancing, singing, flinging one’s hair up and down like the lead singer of an 80’s band is sort of weird… possibly irresponsible… and definitely embarrassing.  Who are we, these grown up people with responsibilities to behave in such a way?

Well, in the words of Marianne Williamson, who are we to not do those things?  One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set yourself free.  Become a child again.  You have wise teachers to guide you in this dance.  Watch them.  And then jump in.  Dance with them.  Be a star.  Let them be stars.  Make the sky shine a little brighter.


A Few of Our Favorites

“It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.” 


Say Hey by Michael Franti

Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets

Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry

Respect by Aretha Franklin

Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys

We Got the Beat by The Go-Go’s

Three Little Birds by Bob Marley

Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson

Whole Lotta Shakin’Goin’ On by Jerry Lee Lewis

Me and Julio Down bythe Schoolyard by Paul Simon 


Stacey Libbert is a mom, teacher and writer living in western North Carolina.  You can find her at her blog, Running Monologue.  Stop by and say hello.


Reader Comments (1)

i like this article.
Feb 11, 2013 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterairplane game

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