Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Dance like nobody's watchin'

I photographed the Forever Dance Spring Show at Carrington School last Sunday. It wasn’t the first spring show I’ve attended (or photographed), but for some reason this performance had me enthralled.

It was an absolute joy to see dozens of young girls leave it all on the floor. The energy level was off the charts, and the costumes and props were spectacular. Even coaches Brianne Partlow and Jane Sauby got in on the jazz, wearing outfits adorned with sequins and sparkles.

I thought the action was fast in basketball and volleyball, often missing a key play or a fantastic shot. Yet, a photographer needs only to focus on one thing to catch most of the action: you guessed it, the ball. There’s only one ball, and it’s usually at the center of play.

In dance, everyone is moving AT. THE. SAME. TIME. One moment they are dancing in unison, and the next one girl does a somersault or a flip while others leap and twirl.

I saw so many familiar faces and wanted so much to capture them all in at least one moment of joy during their performance.

I apologize to every parent, grandparent, aunt and sibling sitting near me during the show, because the shutter on our camera is not quiet, and I was rapidly firing the whole performance!

The Cardinaires even performed at the Forever Dance show, and this was the only time I had seen them live this season. Cardinaires Tessa Mittleider and Reagan Wolsky also help coach Forever Dance and are great role models for the young dancers.

Tessa is a senior at CHS, so this is her last year coaching. When she was recognized at the end of the show, all those dancers rushed to her and wrapped her in the biggest group hug I’ve ever seen. It was a precious moment.

“Dance as if nobody’s watching, but if they do give them a show.” That was the ever-so-fitting quote I saw on Facebook shortly after we posted the photo gallery there. The gallery is online at

Dance in Carrington is a community, and it shows with every number. The Cardinaires captured the state Class B title in all four categories this year, a feat no other Class B school has accomplished.

At the pinnacle of success, they are holding tryouts for the 2024-25 team this week. As I write this, it’s the last of three days where they seek out girls who’ve grown up in Forever Dance or gymnastics or even dancing to Spotify on their phone when no one’s watching.

I hope to see some of those Level 3 dancers out on the floor next year as members of the Cardinaires. The butterfly number they performed was absolutely beautiful, and their artistry and talent showed through.

Readers in area schools, take note. The North Dakota Association of Dance and Drill is looking for individuals interested in starting dance teams in Class B school districts. Maybe it’s time to get girls competing in dance in New Rockford-Sheyenne, Fessenden-Bowdon or Midkota Schools. Email [email protected] for more information.

Dancing is one of those life skills that a girl can carry with her for life. At every wedding and street dance I attend, I love watching people of all ages cut a rug on the dance floor.

It’s great physical activity too. Why take a walk when you can dance “because” nobody’s watching for 20 minutes a day in your living room and consider it exercise?

I’d like to take an actual dance class some day, so I can learn to salsa or foxtrot or swing dance. In the meantime, I have no problem shaking a leg and looking like an absolute fool at wedding dances. Kudos to all the girls who have made dancing a popular and successful sport. You are brave and strong and beautiful, all at the same time.

As a side note, the curious journalist in me wanted to know where the quote “dance like nobody’s watching” came from. So I went online, and folks I came across a pretty great resource. I know you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, but this one is researched and vetted!

I discovered a website, Quote Investigator, that seeks to answer questions regarding who a particular quote originated from. Check it out at Garson O’Toole is the author behind the website, and he has researched over 2,000 quotes to find their original source.

O’Toole writes that derivations of the quote have been wrongly attributed to Mark Twain, Satchel Paige and even a Buddhist Monk.

The actual origin is a pair of songwriters. The country song “Come from the Heart” was written by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh in 1987. The chorus goes a little like this:

“You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money,

Love like you’ll never get hurt,

You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’,

It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.”

Here's a link to the song, as recorded by Don Williams:

Give it a listen.

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