After 50 years of dancing halfway around the world and in dozens of places, I can’t seem to recall the last time my wife and I danced together, or where that might have been.

COVID-19 has deprived all of us of many enjoyable activities, and dancing is just one of them. Was it a gentle waltz around some ballroom, or maybe it was at a PortOpera Gala and the rhythmic sounds of the Bob Charest Band? Oh, wait, I have it; a sexy Tango in a dark salon in Madrid, she in a red dress slit up the side and me in my Caballero outfit … sure, in your dreams, bud.

I have to admit this isolation is finally getting to me, although I’ve fought it tooth and nail. I’ve been busying myself with projects of all sorts like yoga at home, analyzing what makes films of the ’30s and ’40s so remarkable, cleaning out the basement, contending with helping my wife train two new shih tzu puppies, gardening, dialing for dollars for a nonprofit and well, writing this essay.

OK, so I can’t remember the last time we danced together and where we were, but I do remember a lot of times before social distancing came into play, which of course now makes dancing altogether problematic. Therefore, before I give up, it occurs to me that we haven’t danced in a long time and I don’t know the reason. I would like to put the entire blame on COVID but that wouldn’t be fair, not that the virus deserves fairness. Let me see, were all those benefits we had attended bereft of a good dance band, or maybe we were practicing social distancing in anticipation of some imagined and dreaded world pandemic?

Why of course, that’s it, a dystopian society where everyone attends a “masked ball” but instead of eye masks, they’re wearing designer protective masks, and as the leader steps into place and strikes up the band, all wearing face masks that match their outfits, they go into a rousing version of Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” with the emcee reminding us to stay 6 feet apart. No problem with this dance!

If we go back in history, dance seemed to express the period of time. For example, I’m sure those Egyptians and Romans were twirling around in their sandals and togas, especially the Romans after a Bacchanalian orgy, and with little worry of a sudden updraft from a nor’easter. Think of those Louis executing formal ballet moves in their elaborate wigs and splendid attire.

We Americans had our own dances that fit certain time periods. We waltzed our way through a world war, rumbaed, sambaed and cha-cha-chaed our way through another followed by the atomic bomb scare, a polio epidemic, threats from Russia, the long conflict in Vietnam and dire warnings from the Middle East. Today we are fighting a worldwide pandemic, incredible social unrest and a political theater that defies anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. But our dancing is somewhat on hold for the time being.

Even if I can’t recall when my wife and I last danced together, I do happily look forward to that next time when we get dressed to the nines, hear the bandleader strike up the band, step out onto that shining dance floor and take our first steps.

I do hope it isn’t the Twist! Maybe the Coronavirus Jig?

— Special to the Press Herald

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