Barefoot Dancing: A Cover Lay Down Mix
(with covers from Mumford & Sons, First Aid Kit, Luka Bloom & more!)
I learned to dance in the suburbs, a child caught in the web of projected dreams of high class living. Sessions took place in the front parlor of an ivied, stately mansion, record needles skipping us across the waxed wooden floors in waltzes and ballroom foxtrots as we held each other distantly, stiff in our navy sports coats, palms sweaty and awkward against the unknown sex in their disdainful white quarter-sized dresses.
Later, dance was a skill, useful for the stage and a gym credit in high school. I took jitterbug lessons in a downtown studio for a Merchant-Ivory production of Cinderella, learning to be led by older boys in wigs and stepsister dresses, watching my steps in a wall of mirrored glass. I learned the basic language of choreography, and the sideways look to be sure.
I learned, in other words, that dance was work.
Discovering dance as a joy – as a personal thing – was a revelation in my twenties, when the world of jam bands taught me to dance hypnotically, and Michael Franti and Tribe Called Quest taught me to jump. It became a joy to share in my thirties, when the children were small, and unaware that the world was watching. But something about the world of dance as a skill, to be polished and critiqued, still lingered in my brain. I had to work to lose myself in it, and it never lasted long.
And so I rarely dance these days. Oh, sometimes half-furtively, for the encore of an especially good band, from the back of the chapel. But the children are grown too old to dance with Daddy. The world is often watching, in my dreams and in my mind.
But you have to find your place in the world. And so, once a year, I go to where I feel most alive, and most comfortable in my own skin: offline and off the grid, deep in the green fields of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.
And I dance.
I dance in the rain, when it comes, if it comes. I dance in the bright midday sunlight, alongside the stages. I dance under tents, darkness all around us; I bounce in the crowd as psychedelic strains and hot lights fill the air. Some years, I even try a round of contra dancing. Saturday night, my daughters and I make ourselves into glowstick figures, and dance up the aisles in the darkness. And Sunday morning, by the side of the main stage, I raise my hands and voice in agnostic praise for the Gospel Wake-Up Call as the spirit moves me out of my seat.
I’m not that good at it. I’m sure I look ridiculous, most of the time.
But it doesn’t matter, really. What matters is the dance.
So find your place and time, and dance with reckless abandon, with tenderness, with style. Dance like no one’s watching, with small children and old men and women if possible. Dance to the stars, and the bright morning sky on the last day of summer. Dance in the closet, or with the grass at your feet.
From slow dances to rockabilly two-steps. From here to there. We’ll be back again soon, refreshed and rejuvenated, limbs loose and ready to move.
Barefoot Dancing: A CLD Mix
…now available in one convenient download-able file!
- First Aid Kit: Barefoot Dancing (orig. Patti Smith) 
- Sleeping At Last: Safety Dance (orig. Men Without Hats) 
- Sam Morrow: Dancing In The Dark (orig. Bruce Springsteen) 
- Reid Jamieson: Dance Me To The End Of Love (orig. Leonard Cohen) 
- Bootstraps: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (orig. Whitney Houston) 
- The Divine Comedy: With Whom To Dance (orig. Magnetic Fields) 
- Ben Watt & Bernard Butler: Dance Hall Days (orig. Wang Chung) 
- Mumford & Sons: Dance Dance Dance (orig. Neil Young) 
- Beverley Mahood: I Hope You Dance (orig LeeAnn Womack) 
- Brittany Ann: Dancing On My Own (orig. Robyn) 
- Soft News: Dancing With Myself (orig. Billy Idol) 
- Lee Rocker: Come Dancing (orig. The Kinks) 
- M Ward: Let’s Dance (orig. David Bowie) 
- Luka Bloom: Dancing Queen (orig. ABBA)