Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 06.04.05
Stanstead, Quebec


Dance Lessons

Lesson #1: You can't dance to "Sweet Home Alabama."

Well, technically you can but it looks less like dancing than like stepping on ants.

You can, however, make up for the song's lack of danceability by singing the "Ooo-hoo-hoo" part at the top of your lungs. And hopefully, the music will be loud enough that no one will hear you.

Unfortunately, music doesn't cover up dance technique. If you're dancing, it's out there for all to see. And if you're dancing to "Sweet Home Alabama," they will say, "There goes the whitest man in the world."

I learned this lesson last Saturday night when Deb and I attended a wine-and-cheese fundraiser for Sunnyside Elementary School. Which brings me to…

Lesson #2: When attending a wine-and-cheese, you quickly have your fill of cheese. Not so for the wine. Be warned.

The resulting lubrication makes you think you can dance, even though all physical signs and sidelong glances from your fellow dancers clearly suggest you can't. But there I was bopping up and down to some fine rock 'n' roll provided by the combined musical talent of Mike Goudreau's band and Four-Eyed Jerry. "Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on!"

Oh yeah. Now, we're getting down!

This was actually a treat for us. Deb and I don't go out that often, at least not alone. We talk about it but something always seems to come up: sick kids, conflicting events, house arrest. But if nights out are rare, nights out dancing are even rarer.

I can't remember the last time we danced together. It may have been at a newspaper event with James asleep in a back carrier, which would make it about nine years ago. It's not easy to dance with an infant on your back but it does make a good conversation starter.

Not surprisingly then, when we first got on the dance floor, we were pretty rusty.

"I can't remember how to dance!" I shouted to Deb.

So we laughed and jerked around, trying to make light of our ineptitude by dancing mockingly with exaggerated disco moves. Which brings me to…

Lesson #3: You may think you're dancing mockingly but to those around you, you just look like a jerk.

Eventually, though, we relaxed (see Lesson #2 above) and started boppin' and a-groovin', which led inevitably to sittin' and a-pantin'.

Deb seemed to have more stamina than me. She stayed on the dance floor a lot longer, dancing with her co-workers to the recorded music during the band break. Which leads to…

Lesson #4: My wife is the worst Macarena dancer in the world. And…

Lesson #5: She's a beauty.

As I sat at our table, watching Deb dance in the long black dress she had fretted over wearing (although not as much as I did over my wardrobe; there were shirts flying everywhere), I was transported back seventeen years to when I first knew this tall, gorgeous woman with the killer smile and dazzling eyes.

Struggling with her through "Proud Mary" was wonderful but watching her laughing and dancing in that unique hip-swingy way of hers was the highlight of my night. Sitting there, unencumbered by the need to look like I knew how to dance, I remembered how lucky I am. Which leads to…

Lesson #6: Don't blow it by stepping out to the washroom just as the band plays its one and only slow song.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

So what have we learned from all this?

1) A bit of wine helps you shake your groove thang on the dance floor but too much leads to inopportune bathroom breaks.

2) My wife is a peach for putting up with me.

3) We shouldn't wait another nine years to go out dancing. In the meantime, I'll be working on my moves and picking out my wardrobe.