We live in Barrhaven, a southern suburb of Ottawa. Although I like the area we live in, there's not a lot that goes on out here, and I always forget that it's really a short drive to the heart of Ottawa to partake in the full range of city life. Ever since I moved to Ottawa from Kingston, I've grumbled that this city seems boring and soulless, but that's really my own fault for not exploring it more. This weekend I've really made the effort to feel the city, and I'm glad I did.
Saturday's entertainment came to my attention courtesy of CBC Radio One. An interview on Friday with an organizer of a dance event on the Sparks Street mall reminded me that I had meant to check it out this summer- this was my last chance. The Spark Street Dance Challenge was wrapping up on Saturday, and as a bonus, there would be a dance competition before the live music started. DH agreed that this sounded like fun, so we all dressed up and ventured downtown.
The girls were pretty dubious at first, and I have to admit I was too, when the dance competition was between three ballerinas, a jazz dancer, a swinging couple doing the Lindy Hop, and another couple who murdered the tango. The competition didn't really hold our attention so we wandered up the street to find some place nice to eat. After we ate, it was time for the band to begin.
The band was a swing band, lively and fun, and the cobblestones of Sparks Street looked pretty inviting as a dance floor. DH and I were pretty brave and took to the floor first, stretching our meager ballroom and Latin dances to fit the music as best we could. As the night fell, soft and welcoming, more bodies slipped onto the floor. We all danced in the warm summer night, forgetting everything but the joy of movement.
The songs were super long- ten minutes each, or so it seemed. Wayne and I would dance together until we were tired, then each of us would take one of the girls by the hand, teach them the steps of the dance, and dance with them for the rest of the song. They were having a ball- when a song would start, they would beg us to go out and dance; it really meant a lot to them for us to be out there.
We were all getting tired by 9, so Wayne invited his eldest daughter for a dance. They danced together, awkward at first but she slowly picked up on the box step he was doing and began to move better together. After a while, I suggested to the youngest daughter that she should cut in on the dance. She did so, and father and daughter shared another special moment.
It was a magic family evening, and I'm so glad we went. May it be the introduction to a long life of dance for those girls.