Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Year of Aversion Therapy #1: I Dance

Someone challenged me to “hug people and dance” this summer, so I thought I’d get some practice in. So, while sitting at the side, clutching my empty wine glass, I resolved to dance if prompted.

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By dance, I don’t mean ceilidh dancing, more’s the pity. I can do that (although I’m usually in the band therefore have a non-dancing wild card). Ceilidh dancing I ‘get’. I know what to do; I know what it is about; I even see the point.

All I needed to do was to transfer these things over to random ad lib dancing:

1. Knowing what to do

Hmmm…. tricky. Historically, the fall-back position was what we termed (ironically, y’understand) the ‘groovy two step’. It still holds good. Side together back together repeat to fade. Then you need to do random stuff with your arms – somewhere between nothing at all and anything obvious.

Oh, the joy when YMCA comes on! I could only dream of the Macarena. Then there’s always ironic dancing. Luckily my children weren’t there . (As an aside, when I asked my kids about how I looked before I went out, I got a withering look and told, sarcastically: “Wow, mum. You look like an orange.”) Never mind. I thought my dress was EXACTLY what I wanted to wear. I even had comfy sandals and if that isn’t an oxymoron….


2. Knowing what it’s about

Well. This is trickier. I usually have deep worries about the primal, social anthropological reasons for dancing. But on this occasion, I found a reason I could live with. I wasn’t identifying with a tribe or culture. I wasn’t finding or expressing myself. I was finding an aerobic way of putting in an hour when the music was too loud to have a conversation and everyone I knew (give or take a few) was dancing. I really would have had to sit at the side and clutch a diet coke. Either that or I would have to chitter in the rain outside or hang out in the toilet. So, it was generally expedient to be at the back of the dance floor having a laugh. And yes, it was “fun”, but I am still developing my appreciation of “fun”. I’m still not really into it.

3. Seeing the point

If the point of random ad lib dancing is to get people to do it and thereby tick all of the cultural boxes alluded to in point 2 – it doesn’t really work. Far more people get involved in the ceilidh dancing – and the random track DJ can really hit or miss with the choice of tracks. Having not listened to …  anything in the last decade, I wouldn’t know what tracks were likely to be good for dancing – although I was pleased to feel my age when “Uptown Girl” came on. It was the first single I ever bought – except mine was Billy Joel and this was Westlife, but hey, I knew it.

I suppose the “point” of dancing is that it is something that people can do together in a time and place. Maybe it is a bit tribal. I don’t know. Tribal is the wrong word, I know. It is social. I think that is where I don’t get it because I have pigeonholed “social” as to do with verbal/written communication, rather than simply being in the same place at the same time doing the same thing. It is done, in this context, together. And I think that is the point. Maybe people can only eat and drink together for so long. Maybe dancing is just next on the list. Maybe some people just want to dance and don’t ‘get’ the eating, or don’t ‘ get the drinking.

But everyone eats and drinks. Not everyone dances. However, there is “a time to dance”. I get it. I’ve seen “Footloose”.  

So, there we go. That was dancing part 1. I have more dancing scheduled for late July. I may also experiment with the phone thing. I am not touching the hugging thing with a barge pole. For a long time. I’d rather phone for a taxi. In fact, that would make me phone for a taxi…



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8 thoughts on “Year of Aversion Therapy #1: I Dance

  1. I think you should check out the YouTube video(s) “Where the Hell is Matt?”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  2. I think that your orange dress is lovely and you looked lovely in it. Gotta love those kids, my baby girl isn’t happy that I dyed my greys today, she thinks that I should embrace my grey. Gotta love the babies. Did you ever like to dance? I used to and now I could take it or leave it. I know that you are an accomplished musician but that doesn’t necessarily go with dancing. I’m glad that you had fun and perhaps you will have even more next time.

    • No I never liked random dancing. I only like planned routines and what I enjoyed was getting them right. So the element I enjoyed can’t be done in these social situations.

  3. Scotstig on said:

    I think you have done fine analysis of what dancing is for you however it is an analysis by the brain but not by the heart. If you dance to please other people, then it’s purpose folds in on itself.

    “The groovy two step” is comical because it says in body language :


    People doing the groovy two step think that it makes them somehow invisible like they are not actually there like people staring into space on buses or trains.

    Ceilidh dancing avoids this by having set steps in time with the music, it’s like flying on autopilot on a plane, make all the right moves and it will all just happen automatically.

    In contrast, I have seen many women in nightclubs dancing around handbags. Are they try to impress one another or their handbags? I don’t think either. Ceilidh dancing is a social/communal thing, like line dancing or “Agadoo” by Black Lace. Disco/club dancing, is not so much. Dancing in these settings is for self expression and fun. People love to get lost in the music and express themselves through dance. It is more important to express yourself and enjoy the music in dancing than worry about what others think. If you practice dancing alone with dancey music you’ll be able to get into the music and the rhythmical dancing (not random leg, body and arm movements) will come naturally and so will the “fun”. For me, the point of Footloose was to express and not repress yourself.

    Don’t think, Just Dance……. relax, enjoy yourself, children can do this naturally only adults find it hard.

    Is it possible, that in dancing you fear you will say something intimate in body language that you do not wish to convey? If so, then it is a quite common fear (for all of us) but you have to get over that and just get on with it, it’s worth it.

    Anyway, I will leave you with this quote by William W. Purkey:

    “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
    Love like you’ll never be hurt,
    Sing like there’s nobody listening,
    And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

    • It’s just not my medium. There’s nothing to express through dance.
      I have the same problem with music. It doesn’t move me. It’s either technically good or technically bad – so I don’t listen to it of my own accord really, or see why people think is it important. I know that they do, but I have yet to get there which is ironic, given my fingers in musical pies.

  4. I love freeform dancing because I can switch off my higher brain functions and just let go in a way I don’t normally ever do (being very much a head before heart kind of person). I also enjoy the technical physical challenges thus the dance lessons (more specifically tap). However I understand that throwing shapes isn’t for everyone and no-one should feel bullied into”joining in”. It’s not free expression if you aren’t feeling free.

    Scotstig said “Is it possible, that in dancing you fear you will say something intimate in body language that you do not wish to convey?” which pretty neatly sums up my horror of casual physical contact. Looking forward to your social hugging (bleurgh) blog.

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