One of the situations in which I feel most frustrated about my restricted mobility is when I hear amazing tunes – I really miss being able to dance properly.
The wheelchair has improved this somewhat but dancing sitting down just isn’t as satisfying as the real thing. I don’t get the feeling of every bit of my body going for it, and I’m often much lower down than everybody else so all I see is other people’s wiggling bums.
Tonight I danced properly for the first time in several years and I’ve been blown away by how happy this has made me. Three key things made it possible for me to dance hard for four solid hours. These were:
1) Bashment sound system, The Heatwave
2) Several bales of straw
3) Strong friends
The Heatwave, who played at our launch party last year, supplied wicked tunes back-to-back. Their stage was enclosed by tiered seating made of straw bales. I sat on the second tier, about three metres up. I had a great view of the stage and sat with my legs dangling over the side. To start with this made Poppy very nervous – more so, she said, than when we went on the pedalos a few weeks ago. But she relaxed as we both danced energetically. I think she could tell how happy it was making me. She and our friend Keir took turns to stand in front of me so I had someone to hold onto. Sitting on the straw bails with my legs dangling over the side meant they could move as energetically as they liked. And I didn’t have to worry about my arms hitting the sides of my chair either. I felt free to dance with my whole body in a way that’s been impossible for ages.
My dancing was punctuated by a number of ‘ticcing fits’. In any other situation this would’ve been dangerous and attracted a lot of attention. But I felt safe on the straw bales, supported by my amazing friends and no one else seemed to notice.
I remember feeling frustrated during one ticcing fit because I was missing a good tune. But I also remember thinking that there couldn’t be a better soundtrack to fit to. I loved Keir singing along joyfully as he uncurled my locked up hand. As my body thrashed about I let the atmosphere soak in and my anticipation of the next dance build. Each time the fit passed I got back to dancing immediately.
I’m thankful to The Heatwave for an excellent show and to whoever had the cunning plan to stack straw bales around the edges of the stage. Memories of tonight will stay with me for a long time.