Featured Poem: If You Have Ever Loved to Dance


Janet Fagal
Central New York Branch


You never forget the feeling.
The joy of suppleness and strength,
of spins and twirls, and the appearance of floating.
Perhaps you have danced ballet.
Been the Sugar Plum Fairy at a tender age
in a children’s play,
danced in a Rockettes-style majorette troupe,
performed at a World’s Fair, in parades or on stage.


Maybe you have tapped your way to joy. Felt the power
of your toes and heels, calves and thighs,
clicking up and down the stairs,
arms marking the cadence, adding zest to the scene.
Folk-danced for fun with friends from all over the world,
tried modern jazz, ballroom, hip hop.
Delighted in the oneness of music and movement,
whole body in use, on display, speaking from every cell of your being.
Mind counting the beat, remembering the steps.
The exhilaration of the dance, the beauty of classical or modern,
seen in strong, toned bodies, able to stretch and bend as required.
Clothed in vibrant or gossamer costumes,
sending a message about art. Creativity. Life.


Dance needs big spaces, time to practice,
dedication to exactness and extension.
The dancer so fit, combining grace, determination, flow, rhythm.
If you have ever loved to dance, it never leaves you,
even though you may leave it.
If you have ever loved to dance and you are old,
replaying it in your mind
is bittersweet tucked in between the joy.


This poem was Inspired by Suzanne Beason’s painting “Replaying the Dance, 2017,” which juried into the Schweinfurth Art Center, Auburn, NY: 2018 Made in New York show. The NLAPW Central New York Branch participated in an ekphrastic event where our new creations were inspired by the art on display.


  1. Janet Fagal says

    Thank you for your comment, Madline. We poets enjoy hearing some feedback! I am glad you enjoy all forms of dance, too, and this brought back lots of good memories. I keep reminding myself I am only one day older than the day before. I sure wish I could still dance like I did so many years ago. It is fun to remember and I do vividly.

    • *oops I meant Madaline (I actually looked carefully at the spelling but on my phone typing and proof-reading is trickier than on my laptop!) Again, thank you!

  2. “You never forget the feeling”. So, so true. Thanks for putting it in words!

    • Janet Fagal says

      Thank you, Donna, for reading and for commenting. I love to dance and wish I could do it more!!!

  3. Janet Fagal says

    I love dancing, Tracy, and my now 3 year old granddaughter seems a natural. From Youtube videos and trips to see The Nutcracker last Dec. plus Cinderella in the spring of last year, she dances as much as she can and pretends to be characters. She really has developed some skills!!! So happy to hear you are still joyfully dancing.

  4. Madaline L Williams says

    I loved this poem–enjoy all forms of dance–brought back so many happy memories

  5. Barb Whitmarsh NLAPW says


    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Barb and so glad to know you went to see the Rockettes with your grandmother!! The poem is mainly autobiographical, as it may appear. I miss dancing and don’t do it often enough. But the joy of it and the memories does keep me happy.

  6. Tracy Lanum says

    Yes, I have loved to dance since my teen-aged years. That was a good many years ago. But I continue to dance with frivolity at the age of 77. What a joy it is!