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The Viennese Waltz


Because of Bipolar

I have bipolar disorder and in some ways that defines me, but in other ways it doesn’t. If you met me, you would never know unless I told you. I am simply a wife, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, a neighbour and a friend.

Some of my blog posts are about bipolar disorder (obviously), but many are not. Everything in my life is coloured by bipolar disorder, so even when I blog about things that seem totally unrelated, they are connected in some way. I hope that all readers of my blog will get something out of it, whether they have a mental illness or not.

When I mention that I have bipolar disorder, people often (furtively) approach me, wanting to talk about it. And not just bipolar disorder. They want to talk about depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, eating disorders and so on. Mental illness is really out there, especially among women and mothers (even though it is not ‘out’ there, if you know what I mean).

People want to know more about bipolar disorder than I can tell them in a brief, private conversation. They have partners or children with mental health issues. They tell me they are desperate to find out more about it. They have so many questions and the more I tell them, the more they want to know. I can (and do) refer them to books, organisations and resources, but they want to hear personal stories. My stories.

Bipolar disorder aside, I have started a blog because I love to write.

Words have power. 




The Viennese Waltz


Everyone dances. We all tap our toes and drum our fingers to music without even thinking about it, responding to something primeval within us.


My enthusiasm for dance far outweighs my ability, and I don’t dance all that well. I do dance, but unfortunately, I don’t have much style, elegance or talent (by that I mean training).


Ballroom dancing is something I have tried in the past, but never mastered. I have watched others, and wished, with my heart and soul, that I could dance like them. Not like professional dancers, with their artificial poses and fixed smiles, but more like my elderly relatives, who, when they dance, are magically transformed into different people, transported to other places and times.


When the music starts, they assume their positions. She waits and he approaches her. Their bodies sway, their feet perform the steps and their shoulders stay fixed in the regal strains of the waltz. They become lost in motions beyond words and feelings, beyond logic.


They dance.


As they glide around the floor, she is secure within his embrace. They have incredible rapport, driven by their relationship, their experience and their shared passion for the dance. Their movements are assured, yet relaxed. They look happy.


I watch their feet, their bodies, their hands and their faces. I watch their eyes and their smiles. The upright way she holds herself as she moves around the floor. The formal way he holds her, his elbows high, one hand resting gently on her back. The way he leads and she responds.  It is romance, music, art, high fashion, discipline, grace and exercise all in one.


They dance the Viennese Waltz. I love this waltz.  It is one of the oldest dances, dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. It epitomises all the appeal of every ballroom dance – it has elegance and romance, class and style.


The Viennese Waltz contains the steps of a regular waltz, but includes dips and swings. Her dress moves in rhythm with her body, adding grace to her steps and excitement to her spins.


I want what she’s having.


In that moment, I want to be her. I want to experience that life-affirming dance. I want to satisfy that primeval longing. I want to discover new pleasures and new aspects of myself and my life, but to do so I need to move past the barriers of inexperience, intimidation and frustration.


Is it ever too late to learn to dance?


I hope not, because I want to learn to dance the Viennese Waltz.


We live in a world where youth and beauty are both highly sought after and easily lost. People (especially women) are not ‘allowed’ to look older as they age.


We are given messages day in and day out, through magazines, television, music video clips and billboard advertisements that the only way to be attractive is to be a young, size 8, high cheek boned, wrinkle-free celebrity, when the truth is that the people portrayed in these magazines etc are predominantly very young and at an age when they naturally look good anyway.


In the following two videos it is refreshing to see a woman, who is older, looking fantastic and getting such joy out of life. 


What I love most about these clips, is that she is older than me and she is definitely not a size 8, but she looks gorgeous and happy and clearly is having the time of her life. And quite frankly, who wouldn’t be happy, having a dance partner like the one she has.


I want to have dancing lessons and I have decided who I want my teacher to be: Maksim Chmerkovskiy. OK, he lives in America, but you never know. I could be in America and happen to be in the city where his dance studio is. I could walk in and he could just happen to be there … and …


Or, he could read my blog and be so impressed that I have expressed an interest in being his student and … that he could offer to come to Australia … and … 


Life’s full of surprises and, as I said, you never know. I will keep you posted.


The videos are slow to start and have lots of intro and promo. In the first clip, the actual dancing commences at 2.05 minutes if you want to fast forward past the preliminaries.


If you want to look them up on the net, just google Kirstie and Maks.





My second favourite clip is this one: Kirstie and Maks dancing the cha cha.







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