Dance Like No One’s Watching
Updated: Jan 3
In October of 2018, my band was invited to perform at an event in Dingolfing, a town nearby to Landshut. The invitation was made through our bass player (Martin) in that the company he works for participates in an organization called Landshut Lebenshilfe (Lebenshilfe means life assistance or life help).
This organization had constructed a new facility that provides a work environment for the mentally handicapped and disabled. It is located near a BMW plant. The new facility, in association with BMW and their suppliers provides jobs for 60 handicap persons for the assembly of small parts, textiles and metal. http://lh-arbeit.de/lawe_einrichtungen/leistungen
On the day we performed it was the official opening day of the facility and many distinguished guests attended from the Lebenshife management, members of local government, people from the community, management from BMW and their suppliers and most important the special people who worked there and their families. The turnout was quite amazing, and it was very warming to see how proud these people of need were to show their families where they worked. http://lh-arbeit.de/lawe_aktuelles/aktuelles_content
We played for a couple of hours that day, as the guests enjoyed snacks and watched our show between guided tours of the facility. A very special moment occurred for me, as we were nearing the end of our final set and the event was coming to an end.
One mentally handicapped young man who was in his mid-teens came into the dining hall where we were playing and was drawn to the band and music. He began clapping vigorously and singing as he moved closer and closer to me.
On the clapping note, I had mentioned in a previous blog post that I am rhythm challenged. Well my new friend was clapping right on time. My band mates and many of my friends know about my inability to clap in time. Please be clear, I can sing on rhythm, I play the rhythm guitar, but finding the beat and putting my two hands together while singing………..well let’s just say it is not pretty a sight. Okay, now that got that off my chest.
Back to the story; I watched the boy’s parents smiling as they watched their son enjoy music, as his clapping and singing began to evolve into a dance. After a few minutes our new fan was standing directly in front of me and we were only separated by my microphone stand. His dance, was not just a sway to a rhythm kind of dance, but he was really going for it. At that very moment he was dancing like no one was watching. I am pretty sure that this young man was enjoying the music more than anyone else had all day, as he had the capacity to not care who was watching or what any one was thinking, which is something we probably all could use a little bit of.
Come on let’s be honest, we all have broken into the happy dance from time to time. Haven't we? I am notorious for jumping up and breaking into the happy dance after watching a happy feel good movie as the music plays while the credits roll (by the way I do this at home, not at the theater) . I have danced around my house while working from my home office when I closed a big sale and did an awesome happy dance when my new guitar recently arrived (my Christmas gift to me). It is that moment in which you reach a level of joy and happiness that the only thing you can to do is break into a dance.
The Landshut Lebenshilfe is an awesome organization, as they give these special people a chance to learn, to have a real job and to feel the pride of earning money. I cannot imagine what the parents and families of children of special needs must face and my deepest respect goes out to them. On this day, I am sure it brought them much joy and pride to see their children, who were mostly adults, were able to show off their new work environment. It was an honor for our band to be a part of this day.
I learned a lesson from that boy that day; as he faces challenges that you and I will never face. His life will never be what his parents dreamed for him and everyday things represent obstacles for him. But!!!! even with all of that, he could still dance and not just a little dance, but could dance like no one was watching.
We all need to dance one in a while. Dance in the face of adversity, dance in the face of pain and dance to the joy and the blessings we have in our lives. Dance like no one’s watching and in reality, no one is probably watching and if they are; who cares? Maybe it will bring them a smile, or they will join in.