Twinkle Toes Learns a Few Moves

By Beacon Staff

My friends all have distinct dance moves, though none of them, in the technical sense, know how to dance. Their complete lack of structured training doesn’t faze them when good live music starts. Two-dollar drink specials also help.

One friend repeatedly does a bizarre sweeping toe drag with his right foot, as if his leg is getting away from him and he must herd it back in. Another bobs his head at the same pace, no matter the music’s rhythm, occasionally thrusting his arms violently in the air, suggesting some sort of revolution. He believes he is getting caught up in the moment.

I have been known to bounce on my toes, earning the nickname “Twinkle Toes.” This style is uncomfortable and by all definitions weird, but it’s my bread and butter.

I like to watch people dance and I get the opportunity to do so every Tuesday night at the “Picnics in the Park” in front of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce. The live music always gets people dancing. The majority of the dancers, if not all of them, are kids. Small kids have the advantage of being cute. Rhythm and grace are not expected of the wee ones.

“Picnics in the Park” are nice gatherings and the kids make them better. One kid, probably about five years old, stood in the same place and wiggled for a half hour, facing away from the stage and directly at me. He was about three feet away with his eyes closed. He paused only to open his eyes and make sure everybody was still there.

A couple of weeks ago at a “Picnic in the Park,” a group of kids clustered around my old yellow Labrador, Penny, who is a favorite of those who stand at her eye level. Penny is fantastic with kids. A particularly brazen girl developed a dance move in which she would stick her fingers in Penny’s nostrils seemingly every fourth beat. When the girl then discovered that Penny’s eyeballs were also squishy, the old dog decided to relocate.

Kalispell is fortunate to have an event like “Picnics in the Park.” Event coordinators attract good bands and food vendors. But even if you don’t like the music, there’s always the dancing. I salute the kids.