Just Once More

For me, the greatest immediate loss due to the pandemic is the loss of dancing. I’ve danced since I could walk, but for the past 15 years, I’ve been an avid social partner dancer. It’s a passion that turned into a part-time business, and I’ve been semi-professional for many years—teaching, performing, and hosting regular social dance events.

In the context of the Novel Coronavirus, social dancing is one of the highest-risk, un-monitorable activities. It was taken from us harshly, overnight, and I must now plan for the void to last until a vaccine (or the equivalent) is widely available.

I spent seven weeks consuming data, science, and expert opinions to figure out the future and make the right plans. Then my left-brain let go and the tears finally came.

It’s difficult to explain to a non-dancer what this loss is about, this thing we chase week after week, night after night, but I thought I’d try, with a prose-poem:

Just Once More

Dancers know what others don’t: how a song can move through your body to light up every atom of every nerve. It happens when we drive, while we’re shopping, in a coffee shop, on the street when a car passes by with windows down and a beat thumping. We don’t control it. A series of tiny switches flips on and takes us over, body, brain, and soul.

Partner-dancers know something else that others don’t: how it feels to share that potential, to move it between bodies, creating colour, shape, and flow that one could not imagine or create alone. The rest of the world disappears as we play and tease it into patterns and frequencies known for the first time. Known for the only time.

That’s the magic—the experience we’re creating is singular, existing only in that moment, with no future or past. We create simply by being and by being with a partner—that other person—yet in that moment, there is no “other”. Our partner is us and we are them. We are the music and the air and the room and all the other moving bodies. We are a collection of atoms behaving as they never have and never will again.

We touch hands thousands of times to find the perfect frequency just once more.


I grieve because I cannot touch hands to move energy like that, as I have many times every week for 15 years. I grieve because I know it will be a very long time before I can plunge into a room full of that energy again.



Progressive Tense Cards (3)

4 thoughts on “Just Once More

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  1. I feel the same way when I dance with my partner. Being shy, I would never get up in front of a group of people, but dancing with a partner transports you into another dimension, and I don’t acknowledge anyone else’s presence. But I’m always dancing inside!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know you two dance together! That makes me so happy. Interestingly, in a recent survey I did of our dance community here, while 1/4 of them were at home with a partner who dances, almost no one was actually practicing/dancing with that partner during isolation. 😦


  2. Dear Maria,
    I had not really given in to the grief of everything lost during this pandemic until reading your article and poem. Dance has always been cathartic for me and as a newbie to West Coast Swing, I can relate to the shared energy being vital to our lives. I want to sincerely thank you and your team for everything that you continue to do for this wonderful dance community. As is witnessed on a daily basis, for those who look, dance and music can lift us all, albeit for just a moment, from the surreal fog of this pandemic. Stay well until we can touch hands again, united in dance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, thank you so much. What you wrote is so beautiful, and thank you for the reminder of what we DO have: ” As is witnessed on a daily basis, for those who look, dance and music can lift us all, albeit for just a moment, from the surreal fog of this pandemic.” xoxo


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