“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you f***ing like something, like it.” -Dave Grohl
Friends, this post is not about books. Indulge me. I did absolutely no reading this past weekend. I was too busy fan-girling! My good friend, Diana, and I traveled to Cherokee, NC on Saturday to see the Dancing With the Stars Perfect 10 Tour at Harrah’s Casino. I am a super fan of Dancing With the Stars. I’ve watched it for years and voted faithfully, with two phones and four email accounts! This was the first time it’s worked out for me to attend a live show. Check out my new wallpaper:
That’s me and my favorite dancer, Valentin (Val) Chmerkovskiy. Truly, is he not the cutest? But his gorgeous face is not the only reason I adore him. It’s so much more than just that. I want to try to put into words what he (and the show) mean to me. This blog post is what I wish I could have said to him in the two minutes we encountered one another outside the event center the other night, when I was so dumbfounded that he was actually standing there in front of me that I lost the ability to speak.
He is my favorite dancer for so many reasons. His choreography is sometimes jaw-dropping. He puts every ounce of himself into his dancing, every movement complete all the way to his fingertips. He embodies passion, hard work, artistry. He is sexy, vibrant, and alive. You can see how much he loves what he’s doing every time he steps out on the floor with his partner, whether it’s on the show or on this tour. It’s a joy to watch someone who is so in love with what they do, you know? How often do you get to see that, much less on a weekly basis?
When I watch Valentin dance, I am reminded of how much I’ve always loved music and love to dance. Sadly, the world doesn’t give many opportunities to adults to dance. Sometimes I put on my iPod and dance in my kitchen after my son has gone to bed. I always feel lighter, happier, sexier. Music and dancing is something that is part of my soul. Sometimes I forget that I’m allowed to dance – me, with my not-perfect, pushing-forty body. Me, a librarian, a wife, and the mother of a young son. Watching him inspires me to remember that my body can always connect to music, interpret it, celebrate it. I can be – no, I am a dancer.
His passion and positive nature remind me that it is possible to work hard and become the best version of myself. If there were a non-celebrity version of Dancing with the Stars (Dancing with the Fans?) I would want him to be my partner because I would want to be taught by the best. He truly wants his partners to succeed, not for his gain, but for themselves. At heart, the show is about the journey of the celebrity doing something outside of her comfort zone and the pro dancer pushing her to believe in herself. It’s a beautiful, inspirational thing to watch.
It’s also a hell of a lot of fun. Yes, some might say it’s just a silly little dance show. And Val is just a guy about ten years younger than me who can really dance. But isn’t it wonderful to have these charming, fun artistic confections (shows, bands, whatever) to think about and look forward to and bond over people with? Doesn’t it make life so much more delicious? To love something, and to put it out there for everyone to see, is to be a little bit vulnerable, especially in this age of cynicism. Like Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I just believe in pleasures, period!
So, thank you, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, for doing what you do and being who you are. Thanks for being so gracious to your fans, always. Thank you, Keo and Emma and all the other dancers who came out on their own time to hug fans and chat and take pictures. Thank you all for working hard on this tour and bringing it every week on the show and giving people joy. Because you truly do bring people joy, and I hope that you know that. This weekend was a fantastic experience that I got to share with a great friend! I’ll never forget it. And I’m starting a fund right now for the next tour – VIP seats next time, baby!