Sunday, November 11, 2012

Purposeful Play - for grownups!

Nov 10:  Something that has always been a core part of my upbringing is humor.  You need laughter.  It's good medicine.  We all have our inner child.  The one who we used to be.  Find that child, let them out to play!

As luck would have it, I get a fair amount of laughter.  My family instilled it.  My husband is a primary source now.  I mean that in a good way.  When you marry someone who has a passion for acting and improv, it's bound to happen.  :-)  My kids provide a good deal of amusement along with the frustration of being tween/teens.  What inspired me today, however, is our dance studio friends.  They know how to have fun and are not afraid to do so.

Every year at this time the studio hosts a "Tournament of Champions", where they compete with other Arthur Murray Dance centers to prove our studio has the most 'school spirit'.  There are 'points' awarded for the number of students involved in various things like private lessons, group lessons, participating in a theme party, bringing a guest, dressing up, providing food or photography and so on.  It means we have five themed parties on consecutive Friday nights.  It's a chance to practice dancing and to get in touch with your inner child and PLAY.  Last night, it was a chance to channel our inner rock star.

I felt like I was 17 again!  Big hair, ginormous hoop earrings, a bow in my hair (remember those?), a crucifix around my neck, black leggings - under a skirt of course, a black shirt, pearls in a knot, big belt, lace fingerless gloves and rubber bracelets!  My date wore a jean jacket and had long hair.  He does a mean Steven Tyler.  I jumped him during his rock band performance like a good groupie should.  :-)

Most everyone in our studio dressed up.  The outfits were fantastic and outlandish.  We played air style rock band in 3 teams.  It was hysterical!  We danced ballroom, Latin and freestyle.  There is no 'weirdness' about girls in ballroom hold with another woman or a man with another man.  It's all in the name of learning and fun.  We laugh.  We dance.  We laugh some more.  How there was not a Viennese rock star collision I will never know but we pulled it off!  Oh, and in case you were wondering, you can TANGO TO BLACK SABBATH!  (tried to post a video of it, but was unable to here, hence the late post) Best part?  Everyone was sober.  We all are this much fun just as we are!  Isn't that cool?!

Play is the work of children.  Work is the work of adults.  Especially those who have to support those children who love to play.  Somewhere along the line, we either simply don't make time to play, have forgotten how or think it's for 'kids'.  Our kids have much to teach us about the value of play.  Of letting go of societal norms and expectations, about doing for the simple please of doing so.  To have fun for the sake of having fun, because, it's... fun!

Turns out, adults need to play, too!  Adults, especially parents, need their 'alone' time.  Time to spend with friends or each other.  Sure, date night is fun and often necessary to a healthy relationship, a chance to connect, talk uninterrupted, perhaps remembering what it was like in the beginning of your relationship.  People should date their spouses on a regular basis!  Double dates are also fun and focused.  Unlike a party or group outing, four people can actually have a conversation of substance, agree on where to go and what to do and it's generally easier to plan, especially if a sitter is involved.

Dancing has brought us many gifts, far beyond teaching us to dance.  Not that we needed much help in this department, but it brought us to a group of like-minded people.  People who are not afraid to have fun.  The more, the better.  It's good medicine.  It's good exercise. They are good people and now It feeds the soul.

In the mean time, I am looking forward to our upcoming parties.  How would you dress for "It Used to be cool", "The Flintstones", "Anything but clothes" and "An evening in Paris"?  We have a few ideas, but would love more!

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