I never in a million years thought I would find myself dancing in a tutu and fish net stockings in front of hundreds of people in Mardi Gras parades. I am pretty conservative and very self-conscious, but in 2011 when an old high school friend asked me to join her in a newly formed dance troupe, I jumped at the opportunity. I was going through a divorce, had a small child and needed an outlet.
I received so much more than an outlet. I found myself joining a group of very diverse women who shared a passion for dance – teachers, doctors, writers, lawyers, gay, straight, single and married. The women were various ages, sizes and shapes. All of them had a profound effect on my life.
The dance group would get together one night of week to practice. Shortly after arriving to practice, I would realize that I needed these practices both physically and emotionally. All of the practices started with conversations about what was happening in each other’s lives. Through the years, we shared so many life experiences together … births, miscarriages, marriages, breakups. We became like a family. Dancing with other women created a remarkable bond that I had no idea could exist. The fun costumes, health benefits and excuse to put glitter on EVERYTHING were just icing on the cake.
So many other benefits too
I say all of this to encourage anyone thinking of joining a Mardi Gras dance group, to do so. It is so much more than just dancing in parades. The support and camaraderie that forms when you join these groups is invaluable and will make an indelible mark on your life. Also, many dance troupes raise money to benefit various local non-profits.
Yes, it is August
While Mardi Gras is months and months away from now, dance troupes hold auditions at various points throughout the year. If you hear of an upcoming audition, I suggest that you check it out. Most, if not all, of the women auditioning are just as nervous as you are. You also do NOT have to be one of the most rhythmically talented women to join. I am by no means Misty Copeland. Attitude and desire to dance are often the most important factors in making a great troupe member.
While I have hung up my tutu, it was not without deep consideration and mixed emotion. I still to this day remain in contact with many of the women I met and consider them good friends. You also better believe I kept my tutu and will break it out on occasion when I need to feel like a rock star. Hope to see you on the route!
Do you belong to a dance troupe? Which one is your favorite?