Who dances to relieve stress? And how can it be that engrossing? And of all people how in the hell does Joannie fit that picture? I’m asked and told many things along those lines. For most people dancing is a group of friends having a night on the town, its a high school and college get together where everyone is all gussied up and with their crush (if their lucky), its something we do at weddings, anniversaries and New Year’s parties. Unless of course it’s a treated more like a sport. Dance classes, dance rehearsals, competitions and teams. Ballet is usually what comes to mind first. Then maybe broadway type plays and theater. If your super modern you might have heard dance terms such as top rocking, break dancing and popping. Usually today’s top 40 artists and their music videos is what people think of first. The ‘Step Up’ movies shed a new light on the after hours dance competitions for many. But still, it’s organized, it’s a statement, it’s a performance. So what the hell is Joannie doing? None competitive doesn’t quite capture my personality. I was the person who swam on swim team for two hours six days a week but refused to compete. I trained with top trainers and show coaches with my horses, but never showed. I was asked by many competitive and professional soccer leagues to play but I didn’t want to. That’s not to say I never showed, competed or played the game. I did and did well. But I liked it better without. So where do I fit in the dance world? I did Ballet for years as a kid. The horses took me away from it (wasn’t hard to decide which one). Mom loved to dance along with gymnastics and any other type of physical movement. When I was doing liberty training with horses everyone always said the same thing-that I was dancing with the horses. That WE were both doing an amazing dance. So my life has been full of various forms of dance. Once I was old enough to grace the clubs I knew I wanted to go and just dance. I wasn’t old enough to drink and none of my friends wanted to go with me. So I went alone. Just to dance. In Tennessee I’d have to drive an hour each way just to get to the clubs. But I’d still get there now and then. Sometimes I find someone fun to dance with for a bit, but I always go back to dancing by myself. I was there to move, there to express through movement to music, there to get lost in the crowd and the energy of a mass of people moving (more than some rather drunkenly). As I got older and smart (and the right age to go anywhere) I found the places that played the music that I truly liked to dance to. My dance evolved and I got decent enough that people at least didn’t laugh at me. Dating a break dancer changed my dance as well and now it could be loosely said that I top rock. Anyway, I dance for me, I don’t care if people are watching or not (I’d usually rather not be the only one out there and have people just staring..true story). I don’t care if people like my dancing (though I will say it’s nice when people do tell me that they do) and often I’d rather dance alone. When I dance alone I don’t have to worry about anything but the music and it makes me want to move. I feel alive. I feel good. I want to be here when I dance. I smile when I dance and mean it. I feel emotions that aren’t just pain when I dance and the world can see it and not want to look away. I can get lost in the moment dancing. Everything just melts away, there is just the music and me (okay some drunk people too but hopefully not in my space) and I dance. I am alive and happy and I dance.