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Dance, Even When Everyone is Watching

August 6, 2022

We’ve all heard the saying, “Dance like no one is watching.” But I loved coming across this fuzzy photo of my mom doing her trademark Charleston step and seeing her in action. Mom was born in 1913, so coming of age in the Roaring Twenties, she must have loved a dance that had people flapping their arms, kicking up their heels and giving up stuffy, suffocating etiquette.

My mother always did the same Charleston dance step and the smile on her face as she moved was pure childlike joy. That Mom was full of fun and brave enough to dance, even when everyone was watching, is what’s most precious to me about this photo. Energy like that sparks joy that washes over everyone, giving an implicit OK to let loose without worrying what people think.

Mom dancing when everyone was watching.

I was curious who said those words and discovered it was author, speaker and Professor Emeritus of Counselor Education at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, William Purkey, who clearly knew what he was talking about. I believe the whole quote attributed to him (although a few country singers have used it too) is:

“Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching,
and live like it’s heaven on earth.”

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and dance!

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  • Reply
    August 8, 2022 at 1:15 am

    I love this, Fran! I never saw Aunt Mary do the Charleston – I wish I did!
    I did once see a pic of Aunt Johanna dressed in flapper clothing! So beautiful!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      August 9, 2022 at 8:52 am

      I think I’ll have to call you about that photo. I have a pic, which I thought was my mom, standing in front of our grandparents home. She was in a gorgeous drop-waisted flapper dress. Maybe it was Aunt Johanna???? I’m going to have to do some more research.

  • Reply
    Darlene Hubanks
    August 7, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    My mother,also, was born in 1913. She was a dancer for a short time and loved dancing of all sorts. I, too, can’t stand still when good music is being played.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      August 9, 2022 at 8:51 am

      I get it Darlene. I too cannot sit still when a good song is on! I have to jump up and dance! Our moms taught us that and I’m so grateful for it and like minded friends like you!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    I will add another lovely line from poet Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day”

    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?

    Your mom clearly had a wild and precious life. She taught you about the warmth of family, love, laughter, good food, and to live with abandon—and a great sense of humor. You are a shining example of your sweet mama.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      August 9, 2022 at 8:49 am

      Awww LInda. I have been thinking of you and will call on my way home today. I hope all is well. Thank you for the sweet words and the sentiment. My mom is sending you the biggest of hugs from her dance spot in the universe.

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