It’s been a while, and the dust on my suitcase is clearly visible.
As I pick up the suitcase, the particles seem to be dancing in the air all over my bedroom. The sun rays penetrating through my window throw a spotlight on the dust, as it floats around the room.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on the road. The very few trips that I’ve been making were to the supermarket and back. Social distancing forced the whole world to stay at home, and for a good reason, no need to question that. However, my feet never stood still. I’ve been dancing for myself in front of the mirror, and the music helped the artist inside me grow. Walk, walk, triple step. These words I memorized on a daily basis, will soon be connected with melodies in an experience I’ll finally be able to share with my fellow dancers.
How many t-shirts do I need? Have I packed everything? Will two pairs of dancing shoes last throughout the weekend? As I grab my passport, an immense feeling of excitement fills my heart. After months of not dancing with a partner, I can’t wait to ask a stranger to do so. As I walk through the door, I think of past dances which I will never forget, and conversations that changed my view on dancing. Never have I thought I would quote Whitney Houston in 2020, but all I can think about is: I wanna dance with somebody!
The airport is packed. Even though the queues for check-in feel longer than waiting for your birthday gifts as a child, no one is rushing. The excitement of finally being able to leave the country is stronger than the urge to be first in line. Boarding isn’t due for another hour, just enough time to have a drink before takeoff. Normally, the €7+ drink would have a bitter taste to it, considering how much money I spent. But now it tastes so sweet, it’s probably the best drink I’ve had in years.
The crew is as friendly as always, maybe even a bit more soothing than I recall. The atmosphere in the airplane reminds me of the school trips we used to go on and flying feels like it’s the first time ever. Smooth like Tennessee whiskey, the airplane takes off. The air pockets feel more like being in love than being afraid of crashing. Soon, I will hug my friends again. Those I haven’t seen for so long; those who I call my West Coast Swing family.
Usually, I would perceive clapping from passengers after landing as uncomfortable, but today is different. When I look toward the aisle to check if I can finally stand up, all I see are strangers smiling at each other as a sense of freedom spreads throughout the aircraft. The moment my feet touch the ground of this foreign country, I feel relieved. It’s over, we did it.
It’s been a while since I checked in to a hotel, let alone checking in to a dance event. The volunteers embody pure joy, hugs are being exchanged and the word “welcome” feels unreal. As I pick up my wristband for the workshops, I feel a tap on my shoulder. As I turn around to see who wanted to say “Hi”, I immediately feel the warmth of a hug from my roomie for the weekend and I struggle to find words to describe my emotions. But no words are necessary. All that’s needed is love.
I would like you to continue this train of thought for yourself. Write it down or keep it in your mind. Whatever you feel like doing. Maybe it will help you break free from the voluntary (or mandatory) quarantine and give you a glance of hope for a better day.
Let’s not forget how important it is to stay at home; it only makes us stronger as a community. But hopefully, sooner than we imagine, we will be able to wipe the dust off our suitcases and get back to what we all so dearly love to do: