It wasn’t so much a case of the lights going down, the room was already black. The cavernous depths of the hall meant the hushed tones of those gathered still reverberated around the walls. An air of apprehension weighed in, shifting around the room. Then the music started.
Relief. A familiar beat. A carefully selected ditty that I had danced to in my living room many times before. This time was different though, I was in full agreement with the lyrics “I don’t feel like dancing…”
I began to laugh nervously, fortunately the beats drowned out my crazed giggles. After a few songs I’d finally stopped demanding of myself, what had possessed me to come here. I began to relax.
I felt the rhythm and let my body move to the music. There were others near me, but they were too caught up in their own journey to be bothered with what I was doing. I felt the energy flow through my body.
It was strangely liberating, experimenting with movement while swathed in a coat of darkness. I soon became intrigued as to what had brought everyone else here. People I didn’t know, and I still don’t. Was it the same reason as for me? A fusion of curiosity, propelling yourself outside your comfort zone and letting yourself go.
Of course I had danced like there was nobody watching me many times before. Although, on numerous occasions it turned out they were. As a teenager, my neighbours had frequently seen me hurling myself over my parents’ best lounges, leapfrog style as Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog blared out over the flimsy speakers. I was alone in the house and it felt like I was alone in the world, free to move however I wanted.
At times, I still find myself jigging along to a catchy tune or singing in my most soulful voice an ‘audition song’ for a fictitious talent show. Yet, I no longer practice my invented awards acceptance speech while substituting a hairbrush for a microphone.
Despite my reluctance to venture out with my friend on that wild winter’s night, it has brought the most surprising outcome – a sense of freedom and release. An ability to unravel the fear inside, to unclench my inhibitions and seize new opportunities.
I’m not sure that I’ll return to the hall that echoes – but I think I’ll be spending the next few Saturday evenings compiling a dancing in the dark soundtrack for my own living room. I know Led Zep’s here somewhere, now where’s that sparkly hairbrush I once used as a microphone?