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What does it take to call yourself a “dancer?”

Is it years of intensive study at Julliard? A lucrative contract with a world-famous ballet company? Or perhaps a thinly worn copy of Dance Dance Revolution and a high-score screen filled with your own initials?

If any of these define the aforementioned dancer criterion, I (Amy) fail miserably on all accounts – especially when it comes to anything DDR related. Talk about a spastic, uncoordinated mess y’all.

Still, I’ve always loved to dance.

Let’s take my childhood. While my Mom cooked her weekly Saturday morning family breakfasts, she’d pop on her favorite Eagles or Brooks & Dunn record, sweeping me gracefully across the dance (i.e: kitchen) floor, between pancake flips. My baby sister and I would then go out in the backyard to choreograph “interpretive dances” to Meatloaf, Def Leppard, and inexplicably, the Free Willie soundtrack (?). Heck, some of my fondest ADULT memories are all about dance: On a beach trip a few months ago for example, my dear friend Nina received an honest-to-God marriage proposal in a neon-lit, hotel bar one night based solely on her dance moves. If you’d have been there, you may have proposed too.

Most recently though, I’ve caught the So You Think You Can Dance? bug (which should probably be renamed, So You Know You Can Dance). And thanks to an eight-hour SYTYCD marathon with my best friend over the weekend, I’m now more determined than ever to add “dancer” to my identity. But how?

While writing this blog post, I actually had my a-ha moment. How do I become a dancer? Answer: just dance (and thank you, Lady Gaga.) In all seriousness though, need we let our egos box us in, limiting how we view ourselves and our abilities? If something brings us joy, need it come with a panel of judges – complete with a token Brit – to confirm our talent? I’m sorry Nigel Lythgoe, but it does not.

It was that sentiment that inspired me to compile this playlist of thoroughly dance-able tunes. Enjoy!

SYTYCD by Amy Haley on Grooveshark