Dance Like Everybody’s Watching (and Celebrating What They See)

blue graphic with a picture of Penny dancing at Hope Heals Camp Talent ShowOn the second night of Hope Heals Camp, there’s a Talent Show. And on the last night, there’s a dance party. From babies to grandparents, from adults in wheelchairs to kids breakdancing, everyone is welcome. Everyone belongs. (Even the shy, awkward, can’t-quite-get-over-myself-enough-to-start-dancing people like me.)

Hope Heals Talent Show

On the night of the talent show, Penny chose to share her dance from Jazz class this spring. I’ve seen her perform this dance dozens of times. But I have never seen the confidence she exuded when she walked across that stage in front of hundreds of strangers who nevertheless made her feel completely at home.

Hope Heals Dance Party

And then, the night of the Dance Party, Penny was not the only one who danced with joy and abandon. A friend remarked to me later that she looked around the room and thought, “Dance like nobody’s watching.” There was such freedom, such a lack of self-consciousness.

But then she realized that everyone was watching. And they still felt free, they still didn’t feel self-conscious.

Everyone was watching, and everyone was celebrating what they saw.

We sometimes say that coming back from camp is coming back to “real life.” But that talent show and that dance party was a glimpse of the really real. The freedom, community, and joy we were all made for.


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Hi, I’m Amy Julia.

I write about faith, family, disability, and privilege.

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