Lord of the Dance Pants
Did cavemen dance? Did the earliest people feel rhythm, the rhythm of the streets? Up through their bodies and down to their feets? When did the dancing phenomenon, and its nefarious wallflower cousin, begin? I’ve heard the excuse more times than I care to remember, people saying they “can’t,” “don’t know how,” or “have scoliosis.” But none of these excuses get at the real problem. For some reason people just don’t want to be seen out on the dance floor. But why?
It’s hard to pin down a time when or how dancing became a point of shame for so many. It’s clear that they don’t want to be seen as foolish, but what causes the threat? Whose nose is out of joint? Whose nose has joints to begin with? This could take a few minutes.
It seems to me that our society of dance may have recently gone through a transition period. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has heard from a member of an older generation the idea that there aren’t real dances anymore, and I think they’re right. No one does the waltz or the Charleston, it’s all about the “cat daddy.”
It seems like the shift of popular dance has gone from structured dances to dance moves that can be inserted into your dance arsenal. Dancing has become more of a solo act. Perhaps the best dancers have always been able to innovate, but now everyone is expected to do the same. The problem is that not everyone is going to be a “lord” of the dance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a jig.
Taking your first dance step
Do you have two left feet? Well you’re in luck: All you need is your hips... and rhythm of course. My personal philosophy of dance is this: Do anything you want, just do it to the beat; it doesn’t matter if you do jumping jacks, just do them to the beat. So, if you have trouble with the beat, find it, or a partner, and do what they do.
So you feel the song, but how do you show it? First, I would go in a place you feel comfortable to try something new - a bedroom, the shower, or your car (keep the seat belt on, and don’t get too crazy). Then put on a tasty jam, some music that makes you want to get active – it usually helps if the song is upbeat. Now, move to the music! If it’s fast, move fast. If it’s slow, don’t. Try closing your eyes and imagining a scene. What kind of movie scene could this song go to? Let that be your guide. Hop, shim, shake. When you find music that fits your mood, it’s hard to not want to move along with it. Just move your body in the way that fits. It doesn’t have to be in big gestures, just try to match what you hear.
Once you start to start to get your groove, take your thang out on the dance floor, and show the crowd your stank leg. You won’t regret it. I hope.