The auditorium was filled with a collective anticipation as the curtain rising revealed nine sequined bumblebees fidgeting in their leotards, buzzing to begin moving their newly-painted gold tap shoes to the well-rehearsed chords of the baby bumblebee song. It was the day I had anxiously anticipated for months and months, through all of our rehearsals and costume fittings and here I was: on the BIG stage.
Seated in the audience with my parents was also my Mom-Mom, my paternal grandmother, and she liked cats and monkeys, but I was nervous she might not be fond of bees. With each tap of my toe, hands firmly on my hips, I scanned the unseeable rows of seats for my people, certain that if Mom-Mom were there and I could see her seeing me, some magic might happen. What magic, I didn’t know.
And something magical did, indeed, happen, despite my not seeing anyone in the audience that night. As I tapped my way through the baby bumblebee song, arms and hands and head and feet all moving in rhythm and time to the beat, the anticipatory nerves and anxiety and fear of messing up my performance all lifted up and out of me, released into the nothing of dust particles scattering in the heat of the stage lighting. I WAS a bumblebee and I danced free — without nervous energy, or anxiety, or fear, or failure. I was pure bumbling joy and exhilaration.
After the performance when I did finally see my grandmother, she and I met each other in an embrace of bumblebee love and she gave me a slender glass vase that held three carnations (two pink, one white) and a tiny bumblebee, attached with wire to the stem of one flower, hovered just above the carnations.
Fast Track Tip #3
What I learned as a five-year-old bumblebee, I share with you now as the simplest method to increase your emotional well-being: just DANCE.
Skip, wiggle, do the Hokey Pokey, bring back the Electric Slide, or pick a decade whose dance moves resonate for you and duplicate them.
You don’t need a special someone watching from the audience. You don’t need an audience at all! This tip doesn’t even require gold-painted tap shoes, although if you’ve got a pair, definitely wear the tap shoes.
Spontaneous Dance Parties happen on the regular in my world.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before. —Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic
And for your viewing pleasure, me: dancing.