Let’s Dance!

In New York, we have a saying that « white girls can’t dance! » There is nothing racist about this statement. It’s just a given fact. Of course there are some exceptions to the rule, but I am not one of them.  This cliché was pretty much invented for me.

Thank the heavens, for techno, house, electro and their easy beats. Even I can bounce my way across the dance floor.  For a while, I thought “I got this!”

Fast forward to my first trip to Reunion Island, to meet my husband’s family. We’d gone out dancing before, in Mainland France, and that had worked out fine. The atmosphere and music was similar enough to New York’s, to make me feel at home. However, our first family event in Reunion, equipped with a DJ, made me very humble. I stood there with my mouth gaping, watching women and men twirl and shake their bottoms, effortlessly. There were specific dance steps involved, not just bouncing to a beat. Complicated, tie your feet up in knots moves, that I was convinced were taught since birth.

I will admit, that I tried studying the way Creole women were swaying their backsides, wanting to understand how to get that Maloya boogie into my step. My only saving grace is that mostly, Maloya, is a dance you do independently or with a group of friends. I couldn’t make anyone fall or stumble with my mishaps. I look even more like a pro, when I get invited to parties, where the dress code is the traditional Maloya dress. A little skirt waving and the local look is pretty much guaranteed, for the most part. I still have a way to go, until I get those booty shakes down right. It’s just not part of my genetic make-up. But I’m getting there. The right partner can help too. Wink Wink.

But nothing could prepare me for Sega dancing, for couples. This requires a tempo that was beyond me, for nearly ten years. I just couldn’t get the footwork or the hip synchronization down. In fact, I was quite certain that I was going to break an ankle trying. It made me remember watching my parents, doing their nifty, 50’s dancing, at weddings, when I was younger.

Luckily, once I gave up trying, like lots of things in life, I finally succeeded or sort of. I found that by closing my eyes, looking only at my 1.90M, husband’s chest, I could give up following the steps and just be led around the dance-floor. Sega is a dizzying but wonderful dance to me now and I no longer beeline it out of there when I hear it.


to bounce – rebondir
fast forward – avancer
gaping – bouche ouverte
twirl – tourner
shake – secouer

bottoms, backsides, booty – popotin
tie up in knots – faire des nœuds
swaying – balancer
boogie – danse
mostly, pretty much – la plupart

stumble – trébucher
mishaps – mésaventures
way to go – de la route à faire
to get something down – perfectionner
genetic make-up – constitution génétique

wink – clin d’œil
nifty – coquette
sort of – presque
to give up – abandonner
to be led – être mené
beeline – ligne droit

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