This week I went to hear a band I’ve loved since the early 80s– the English Beat. I last saw them in 1983, when they played at my university student center ballroom. Another good band opened for them. You may have heard of them– REM.
Back to the present day— looking around the concert venue at this week’s show, just about everyone I saw was in their 50s or so (like me). That wasn’t too surprising– this band was at their most popular when people around my age were in college. And everyone was having a whale of a time– the English Beat are a ska band (one of my favorite genres for dancing), so their music is about as danceable as it gets. If you doubt me, listen here…
The whole crowd was grooving and swaying, and my friends and I were dancing the whole time, jumping up and down, sweating, singing, shouting, waving arms, enjoying ourselves to our fullest capacities, expending all available energy. The drive home was a bit tiring, the next morning a little slower-moving than usual, but the evening was completely worth it.
Today is Mother’s Day, and this week’s dancing episode reminded me of how my mother always enjoyed (and still enjoys) dancing and music. We had music playing all the time in my house and on the radio. In those days in South Carolina it was a lot of Motown– R&B and Soul. In the 70s we welcomed in the funk, and my mom took me to see Earth, Wind and Fire. Check them out here.
Her favorite song to dance to with my dad was Sixty Minute Man, by Billy Ward and the Dominoes. They were experts at dancing the shag (apologies to English readers– it doesn’t mean the same thing here in the US), a dance still popular in the Carolinas. It’s a lazy-tempo dance, but with interesting footwork. You can see it in action here.
Jimmy Fallon got a lot of attention and laughs with his now-infamous Evolution of Mom Dancing collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama. And it’s funny. But let’s not kid ourselves– Michelle Obama can move. So can my mom.
So thanks to my mom and all the moms for dancing with us, playing that funky music, and helping us discover joy in musical movement.
Happy Mother’s Day! (And if you like, you can still order Mom some swag from our website here.)