Save This Dance

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

December 2, 2015

Save This DanceHappy dance, wedding dance, solo dance, ghosting…whatever the steps, it’s the one that defines a moment or a lifetime. Save the dance for the special occasion or do-si-do out of the way.

Writers have given full expression to this collection. Writing is like dancing unseen until that moment when the writer takes to the page like the dancer to the stage.

Enjoy the performance based on the extended November 18, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write dance into your story.


The Dance of the Knowledge of Good and Evil by Paula Moyer

Cuban motion. That ever-so-naughty rocking of the hips, left to right and forward to back at the same time. That and the feet, all at once. Jean struggled with the rumba in this session at the Arthur Murray studio.

Although the dance called for flirtatious eye contact, she looked away while her face burned.

“This is hard for you,” the instructor said. “Why?”

“I grew up Baptist,” she answered. “There’s a joke about people like me.”

“Go on.”

“Why don’t Baptists make love standing up?”

The instructor was baffled. “I really don’t know.”

“Because it could lead to dancing.”


Rigor by A. R. Amore

He seized. The glove reached out from the towering snow bank left by the plows at the end of their narrow street. He was aware they’d constructed tunnels to several ‘forts’ they’d filled with snowballs for coordinated attacks. The glove shown bright pink in the morning light and he knew it could not be attached to anything important – he’d have heard by now. Yet, deep inside a tight paralysis. Instinctively he turned up from the driveway to his daughter’s bedroom window half frozen in his bathrobe, raw hands grasping the plastic handle of a barrel filled with garbage.


Bullet Dancing by Ruchira Khanna

Angie was miffed at the bank clerk, ‘Sign this, Sign that. Crazy laws and regulations. What does she think of herself!’ she could not stop cursing while stepping out of the bank.

‘Now I will make her dance to my tunes once she steps out’ she said while revolving her finger around the trigger guard back and forth in her right hand. With her cowboy hat crooked as it blocked the rays of the sun, she stood on the corner and waited for the clock to strike 5 pm to avenge her thirst of being laughed at over her clumsiness.


Leap of Faith by Sarah Brentyn

She tiptoed around his moods like a drunken ballerina.

Her choreographed steps danced in and out of debris. Delicate footfalls amid the shattered remains of their relationship.

She knew when to pirouette so as not to get cut.

Practiced in the art, she executed jumps and leaps knowing exactly where her feet would land—between scattered bits of betrayal and contempt.

Home was a minefield. In those rare performances when her foot slipped, she set off explosions, creating more rubble, and learning new dance moves.

Faith worked hard, living each day with the beauty of her intricate steps unnoticed.


First Dance by Pete Fanning

Josephine’s gown brushed the courthouse floor as they swayed along. She giggled, for no reason. For so many reasons. From the tickle of love feathering her heart as she grasped Danny’s broad shoulders.

“Husband,” she whispered. Josephine wasn’t floating, but close. Living a dream she’d dreamed a thousand times. She wiped Danny’s uniform. Took him in.

Snow edged the windowsills, like dust from a fairy’s wand. Josephine gushed, blurry with joy. Others looked on, holding bills. A few claps and whistles but it was nearing five on a Friday.

They kissed, then Danny swept Josephine off her feet.



Is it Time for Gender-Neutral Toilets? by Anne Goodwin

I shuffle from one foot to the other like I’m dancing a jig. The pressure’s gone past painful, but still I hesitate. The dolly-peg man looks docile, but those arms could pack a punch. My flared skirt matches the other one, yet I know I won’t be welcomed behind that door. Almost wetting myself, I sneak into the cubicle. Hoisting up my skirt, pulling down my frilly knickers, I point my penis at the porcelain. Calm again, I reapply my lipstick before sashaying out. A woman glowers at me from her wheelchair. Welcome to my daily dance of shame.


Dancing Back to the Future by Geoff Le Pard

‘They led you a merry dance, over that DNA test.’

‘It was tragic really. Her parents invested so much hope in the result…’

‘You too.’

‘I suppose. Katherine really was sweet. Oh Paul…’

Paul held Mary as the tears flowed. She whispered into his ear. ‘I will find my sister. I will.’

In the background, a song came on the radio. Paul eased Mary to her feet. ‘Remember this?’

She smiled. ‘The Palais. 1991. You were drunk.’

‘On love.’

Slowly, clumsily they circled the living-room floor, each recalling a past moment when the future seemed closer than right now.


Secrets Kept by Charli Mills

Cold seeped into the corner of the Greene barn where Sarah watched him unseen. Snug breeches clung to massive legs, but he danced as fluid and light as any gay girl. More like a prancing stallion. Why did he keep dancing with Mary Greene? If only she’d the courage to step out of the dark, she’d ask him to pull molasses with her, then maybe he’d reciprocate with a dance. So cold, though. She couldn’t move.

“Mama, Miss Sarah’s waking.”

“She’s too far gone. Poor dear, I hope she’s ready to dance in heaven. We’ll never know her secrets.”


Pas Jeté by Pat Cummings

From the stands, Roger and the girls could only watch as Harb’s bully-buddies dragged Kirby onto the field. “C’mon, ‘ballerina’!” Harb shouted, “show us how a soccer fairy kicks a REAL football.”

They kept him off-balance until the group jerked to a halt behind the ball on its stand.

Kirby nodded sharply, committing himself. With an elegant sweep of his leg, he tripped Harb, calling “Rond de jambe!” Then, “Couru, Jeté!” with three quick-run steps, he loosed a powerful kick that lifted his foot above his head, sending the ball flying.

Giving a triumphant ref’s sign, he screamed, “GO-O-O-AL!”


It Takes Two to Tango by Dave Madden

The music stops, a bell rings, and the dance begins.

Corners rhythmically count: ones, twos, threes, and fours (sometimes in combination). MMA sets the bouncing ball in motion for all to sing along to, though mixed martial artists take the lead by mastering the basics:

Muay Thai

Onlookers applaude the war-like promenade. Like the Jabbawockeez’s, mixed martial artists hone their craft to perform second-by-second choreography in hopes of popping, locking, and dropping their opponents.

No matter the swaying, bobbing, or weaving occurring within five-minute segments, MMA mirrors head-banging rock-and-roll.


Celebration by Larry LaForge

Ed watched every move carefully. Edna was aghast.

The athlete on TV politely handed the ball to the referee, but then suddenly burst into a series of extreme gyrations. He wobbled his legs as though he might collapse while simultaneously flagging his arms like he was trying to swim. His head moved up and down like a human bobblehead set in a perpetual YES motion. His hips twisted in full synchronization.

“He’s having a seizure!” Edna screamed. “Why don’t they do something?”

Ed shook his head in disappointment. “As far as touchdown dances go, I’d give it a seven.”


A Night at the Ballet by Norah Colvin

The audience hushed as the lights dimmed. Marnie shuffled. Darkness was not to her liking. Josephine patted her hand reassuringly. The girls on her other side twittered with anticipation. They’d been to theatre before. Observing their confidence earlier had Marnie feeling even more conspicuous as she balanced on unfamiliar heels and clutched a borrowed evening bag so tightly it left imprints on her hand. At least now the darkness hid her from view.

Soon the darkness was banished by a brightly lit stage and enormous Christmas tree surrounded by happy children dancing. Marnie was mesmerised. So this was ballet!


Land of Sweets by Kate Spencer

Tammi twirled around the room.

“Watch me Mommy. Watch me,” she said and took off again.

Mommy glanced from behind her computer and quickly suppressed a chuckle. There was her daughter wearing a pink crinoline dress she had outgrown and a princess crown on her head. She was spinning around with her arms extended overhead, holding a candy cane in each hand.

Tammi bowed to her mother and then proclaimed loudly.

“I am the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Queen of Sweets. My castle is filled with lots of candy that I is allowed to eat. Any. Time. I. Want!”


Dancing With Spring by Ann Edall-Robson

Swirling and whirling
Dances past the door
Dressed for the weather
Shares the folk lore

Out on the meadow
Across the creek
Playful and silly
Games of hide ‘n seek

Bashful and wordless
Flows ‘cross the sky
Relentless in greeting
Terminal, by and by

Friend with the clouds
Enemy to the road
Harsh in reality
Like a seatless commode

Welcomed by some
Hated by more
Drifting, not lucid
Sassy wintery whore

Teasing and touching
Tickling the nose
A sticky embrace
Its wrath it bestows

Dancing to the end
With the welcoming spring
Snowy winter retreats
Summer’s on its wing


That First Waltz by Jules Paige

The old faded photo shows them on the dance floor. At a
proper distance for strangers. His arm around her waist, hers
at his shoulder, the their two arms bent just so hands holding
gently. Neither one really knew how to dance, but they were
at a wedding.

The waltz came after the polka – in that little social hall where
friends and family gathered. That’s when they first met. Three
years later our parents married. Dad teases he’s been to one
wedding too many! But they are still holding hands today. And
that’s lucky for us!

Ghost Dance by Deborah Lee

Insomnia, what’s new. Still homeless. For soothing she pulls out her iPod, with some precious charge, wondering what song will shuffle up.

Johnny Cash. She is up, dancing around her sad, cold little squat. The guitars are a steady thrum, Johnny’s voice a rich rumble, ringing in her ears. Time slips, and it’s not her own feet anymore. She’s a little girl, and her father is dancing her around while she stands on his feet.

The song and the magic end, her eyes open. Those aren’t her footprints on the gritty floor. They’re too big, and she’s wearing socks.


The Lord of the Dance by Luccia Gray

The wedding began.
I danced in the morning when the world was young.
The choir sang.
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun.
I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth.
‘I can’t,’ whispered the groom running into the snowstorm.
Dance, dance, wherever you may be.
‘She’d want you to be happy,’ pleaded the bride holding his hand.
I am the lord of the dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
‘Take me back to the altar.’
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.


The First Step by Irene Waters

Emily’s excitement was palpable at her first excursion out as a single woman. She applied her face, hiding her fear.

Her foot faltered on the step leading to the dance studio. She battled the urge to turn and run. Play safe or see where that stairway went. She continued up. They greeted Emily warmly, introducing her to her class mates.

The teacher singled her out, held her in contagious proximity whilst he led her gently, yet safely, waltzing around the floor. Now hooked, her love of dance kindled, ready to become a raging fire. She’d taken the first step.


Therapeutic Melodies by Christina Rose

Music drowned her crying. Filled her ears, her chest with the deep bass and soothing melodic tones. She closed her eyes and briefly tried to forget, to allow her body to feel again; therapeutic music massaging her tense muscles as she relaxed and swayed with the beat, letting the words sink in.

The pain that radiated through her veins was withering away, despair that permeated the suffocating air enveloping her body was thinning with each passing line.

The melody hummed inside her, her hips moving, her shoulders rolling as she swept the floor, a dance performed only for herself.


Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin

What became of the child with arms like wings, with hips that rolled and feet that couldn’t stop tapping? Where was that unselfconscious tot when the teenager stood with arms stiffly folded at the farthest edge of the dance floor? Where was the child when the woman, for want of a partner, turned her back on such frivolity?
I might be grey, respectable, with farther to fall, but I’ll find that child within me. I’ll hop and jump and jiggle my arse, I’ll wiggle and wobble, I’ll prance and pirouette with every cell to music no-one else can hear.


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  1. noelleg44

    All wonderful, Charli. Could make part of a “dancing” anthology.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, it would! Thanks for reading, Noelle!

  2. Sarah Brentyn

    Fantastic collection. Got to catch up and read on some I missed from the prompt. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I missed one, too! Those pingbacks sometimes get buried — new #2 story!

  3. TanGental

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, perfect song for this collection!

  4. Sherri

    As the others said…fantastic compilation. Just couldn’t ‘swing’ it this week…but still might write one anyway. Thanks Charli 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      It was a slippery week to swing horses’ feet! 🙂 Hang in there with the revising!

      • Sherri

        Thanks Charli, you too 🙂

  5. Norah

    Great choreography here, Charli. I was late joining in but I got to read them anyway. It’s always great to know you have compiled them ready for reading when I have time. I love the joyous feel that wends its way through many of the responses.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m glad you take time to read the compilation. For me, this is where I see the magic happen — all the different perspectives stepping out with one another.

      • Norah

        That’s for sure. It always makes interesting reading.

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