Candid Karina

{June 3, 2011}   May I Have This Dance?

I was four years old when I put on my first pair of dancing shoes.  Ballet shoes to be specific.  And so began a love affair with what I believe is the most perfect art form of all…dance.

A few years of ballet let into a few years of rhythmic gymnastics, and the love affair blossomed.

But life has a way of creating many paths, and the path of dance was not the one I ended up taking.

Once we moved to the U.S. from Portugal, we couldn’t afford dance classes for me…and there ended my dreams of becoming a dancer.  

It couldn’t, however, end my love of the art form.  I continued to dance, casually, for fun.  At home, creating music videos with my cousins in my grandmother’s basement.  Later, at night clubs, earning me attention from guys who constantly questioned where a “white girl learned to move like that”.  I loved to dance, and I was good at it.

As I got older, I stopped going to clubs, and dancing became something that I did less and less of.  Unless you count my jam sessions around the house, as I clean and do laundry (which, totally count), I now only dance at the occasional wedding, or party, or on the random event that my girls and I venture for a girls’ night out at a dance club.

But my love of dance? It runs deeper than words can express.  I have seen every dance movie ever made.  No seriously, try me, I’ve seen it.  And as I sit here watching So You Think You Can Dance, with a smile on my face, I can only tell you that this art form tugs at a special place in my heart that I can’t quite explain.

I watch this show with a smile on my face, but my box of tissues is never out of reach, because as much as good dance can make me smile, it can bring me to tears just as quickly…and if you don’t know what I mean…well, then you’re obviously not a dancer (even if it is just in your heart), but the dancers out there, whether you do it professionally, or in the privacy of your own home, I KNOW you KNOW exactly what I mean…


{August 6, 2010}   All She Wants To Do Is Dance

I’m determined to start posting more regularly on this blog, and I think in order to do that, I have to let go of some of my self-imposed expectations and allow myself to just write.

See, back in the day, when I had more time, I would write these lengthy creative posts, with pictures and links and things.

Because I no longer have the time or the energy for those, I find myself not writing at all.

And that’s just a shame.

So, I’m letting go, and I’m just going to write. I’m going back to basics and back to when I used this blog to write my random thoughts and feelings of my daily life.

Today, I’m going to tell you about last Saturday night, because it was both a fun night, and also, unfortunately, a bit of a reality check.

I went out Saturday night with my cousin M&M and her friend, who is now also my friend, who, for my own reasons, will be known as Match.

Anyway, Match and I kicked off the evening at a “not-tupperware” party. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s just as well, but for those of you who have a slight suspicion, yes, it was one of THOSE. M&M couldn’t join us, so Match and I went, and had a pretty decent time. Really, it was pretty hilarious.

After said party, we headed over to M&M’s for drinks and some munchies, before really heading out for a night of dancing and fun at a local bar/club.

Now, my days of nightclubs are far far behind me. When I was in my 20’s every weekend was a chance to spend 2 to 3 nights dancing the night away. In my heyday, there was rarely a club night that didn’t include a little drinking, a lot of dancing, and always some flirting and phone number exchange.

Out on a dance floor, I was full of confidence, knowing I CAN dance, and that confidence without fail always translated into male attention.

In those days, I knew I had IT, and IT always resulted in plenty of dates. I was never lacking for attention from the opposite sex. It was so easy then.

But things have changed. I spent the better part of my late 20’s and early 30’s in a sort of “holding pattern”. Single, content, hardly ever meeting any eligible men, never mind dating, and not exactly noticing or caring all that much about it.

Suddenly, at 35, I find myself once again wanting to date. I would love to meet a nice guy who can create a spark of chemistry between us, make me laugh, and arouse my intellect.

In the meantime, I wouldn’t mind a simple flirtation or two.

So, Saturday night, armed with the knowledge that my leaner, fitter body looked pretty hot in my skinny jeans, high heels and form fitting, but not sleazy tank top, I headed out on the dance floor. My domain. The one place I have always felt confident, and irresistible.

And I can still dance. My confidence in that aspect has never wavered. But it was all different.

I was surrounded by kids in their late teens and early 20’s. Surrounded by little girls in littler dresses, flaunting ALL their stuff with zero inhibitions, performing moves on the dance floor which should be reserved for the stripper pole.

And although I remember being wild in my heyday, I’m pretty sure I drew the line somewhere much tamer than this.

And I found myself beating back the motherly instinct to tell these girls to put some clothes on and stop acting like Jersey Shore Snookie. And I’m not even a mother.

And I realized that IT no longer belongs to me. And the truth of it all is, I’m pretty sure I no longer want IT anyway. Not if that’s the way to get IT now…

Don’t get me wrong, I had fun. The three of us danced the night away, and the people watching alone was worth the price of admission.

But I felt old and out of place, and sure I didn’t belong.

Even the adorable 29 year old boy who argued I didn’t look a day over 25 (bless his heart) couldn’t take away the feeling that as much as I love to dance, this is so no longer my scene.

And even the adorable 29 year old boy wasn’t interested in my phone number.

Because as much fun as we had flirting and joking for a few minutes, I was no competition for the barely dressed 23 year olds he was dancing with later on that evening. Nor did I want to be.

I’ve had my turn, it’s time, perhaps, to pass that torch.

And yet…a part of me grieves for that younger me, out on the dance floor, having the time of her life. Never suspecting that one day, many years later, she’d have to let go, grow up, and put away her dancing shoes.

{February 7, 2008}   Thursday Thirteen #41

In honor of yet another dance show premiering tonight (Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew), I thought I’d focus my Thursday Thirteen on what is probably my favorite genre of movies…dance movies. See, if you know me at all, you know that if there is one regret I have in life, it is not pursuing dance as a career. There are a million and one reasons why I did not, the main one probably being that I am a realist and a college education and good paying job won over chasing my dreams in an industry that beats you up and spits you out. An industry that can leave you with broken dreams, a broken heart, and a broken down body, unless you manage to be one of the select few that “makes” it. Even then, it can only last so long before the reality of age against a dancer’s demanding lifestyle catches up with you. Name me a professional dancer over the age of 30. Right.

But I love dance. I love TO dance, I love to watch others dance, I love to talk about, think about, and examine the world of dance. From ballett to ballroom, from jazz to hip hop, it all fascinates in a way that very few other things in life do. I can stop cold in my tracks watching a young kid breakdance on a piece of cardboard on a street corner. I can watch a ballroom competition on television beginning to end without once taking my eyes of the screen. When I was younger, I could dance for hours out at nightclubs, never needing to get drunk or high like the other partiers, because I really was out there to dance, period. And even now, as I realize I’m way too old for the club scene, but still too young to put away my dance shoes, I’ve managed to incorporate dance as my main workout, with that fantastic video game invention Dance Dance Revolution.

Therefore, when it comes to television and movies, it should come as no surprise that I’m hooked on anything that even mentions the word dance. As far as television goes, my favorite has got to be So You Think You Can Dance, and I’ve focused more than one blog post on that show alone already. But with movies? OH, how I love me a good dance movie. In fact, I love me a bad dance movie too. Because as far as dance movies go, about 95% of the time, the plot and storyline (and even the acting) can leave a lot to be desired. But it’s not about all that with dance movies, it’s about THE DANCING.

Here are 13 dance movies I can watch (and have watched) over and over again (click on the photos to learn more about the movies).

1. Dirty Dancing – Of course.

2. Center Stage – probably one of my favorites on this list. This one not only has an actual plot, but it’s about ballett, which is secretly (or not so secretly) my favorite form of dance.

3. Step Up – Dancing and Channing Tatum? How could you go wrong?

4. Save the Last Dance – yes, white girls CAN dance.

5. Honey – Boy, did the plot on this one leave a lot to be desired…and yet, the dancing made up for it.

6. You Got Served – I honestly don’t even remember what the story was for this movie, but the dancing was amazing.
7. Flashdance – because you can’t possibly have a list of dance movies and not include this one!

8. Footloose – a town where dancing is outlawed? INSANE! And Kevin Bacon dacing on top of cars? Really, isn’t that what movie magic is all about?

9. Fame – you know you started singing that song immediately, didn’t you?
10. Grease – Who can forget that dance scene with ChaCha DiGreogorio? And the dancing through the fun house at the end? Ah Grease!
11. Bring It On – Cheeky, but oh so much fun. And yes, Virginia, cheerleading really is dance.
12. The Turning Point – an older movie about ballett. A bit more serious than your typical dance movie. And yes, that is Mikhail Baryshnikov.

13. Saturday Night Fever – You didn’t think I’d forget, did you? I mean, come on, it’s Travolta when he was still hot!

I realize I’ve probably missed a few, so, please, if you have a favorite dance movie I didn’t mention, tell me what it is, because I want to watch it. And don’t tell me to go watch Stomp The Yard, I KNOW, I KNOW…it’s on my list, I swear. As is the soon to be out Step Up 2 (Feb. 14th). So, what’s your fave?

et cetera