Seven months ago, I moved from the sleepy outskirts of Silicon Valley to the fringe of the urban center and I’m loving all that comes along with my new environment. We’ve got electric scooters propped on every corner, the excitement of the Earthquakes and the Sharks, socioeconomic diversity, a front row seat as downtown San Jose beautifies and transforms into a destination city, magnificent murals appearing left and right, and… dance parties in the square.
Last week, I gasped with excitement when I saw a flyer for CityDance San Jose. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes urban living so fun. For 8 weeks, the city is hosting free outdoor dancing on Thursday nights with live music and dance instructors. Each Thursday has a different theme. CityDance kicked off last Thursday with Salsa; in the mania of the 2nd day of school and the heat wave, I missed it. Rest assured, I don’t plan to miss many more.
The dance floor is Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the central square of downtown San Jose. Unfortunately, because the name is so long and not straightforward to Americanize, the official name of the Plaza isn’t often used and many people don’t know where it is. You know it as the location of Christmas in the Park and the Tech Museum, and you’ve seen photos of the fountain with vertical spray columns that kids love playing in on hot days.
I can’t believe this is CityDance’s 4th year and I just now learned about it; I’m always on the look-out for opportunities to add more dancing to my life. Dancing is a gift, it’s so good for the soul. It washes away stress and lightens burdens. I’m not a trained dancer, so I often feel self-conscious when I’m dancing. The best is when I’m not thinking about myself at all, when I’m lost in the moment, moving to the beat; it’s a powerful experience, I feel so free. I know plenty of people who love the experience of dancing but are embarrassed to be seen dancing because they feel they don’t really know what they’re doing.
The event tagline says it all:
Dance Now, Think Later.
Those are your marching orders, and there’ll be instructors to show you the way.
We’d all benefit from a little more dancing in our lives. Let’s take a cue from Latino culture, where they dance at every gathering and celebration. Why? Because it gives life and brings joy. Think about little children: they’re programmed to move to the music without giving it a second thought; let’s be more like them.
I’m thankful the City of San Jose is making this event happen, and I’m eager to get out there and groove and learn some new moves. Will you be there? Which week?