Being the party starter

In December Ruby wrote a blog post about how dance culture is separate. There were many things that I understood from my experiences in the dancing community and out of it. She addresses how most people think of dancing as a thing that is done by other people,

The social pressure not to dance is stronger, only because there is so much shame and fear around who we are. We are not beautiful enough, not coordinated enough and certainly not talented enough, because to ‘have rhythm’ is somehow viewed as having a talent, and to move in a coordinated manner is somehow a skill. Never mind that the heart pumps in a rhythm, and the body naturally balances itself around a shifting axis with every step. Never mind that generations of people can move their pelvises with enough coordination to procreate, and can independently control their limbs enough to operate a vehicle while texting or smoking a cigarette. Dancing is in our bodies and the way we live, but we are cut off from it by our mental constructs.

I understand this being a constraint. I dance or practice dancing on subway platforms all the time. It is an entirely different thing to do it and mean it. It is very different to catch a musicians eye and dance to their music. It causes me anxiety to even think that people might be looking at me dancing. They might judge how I’m doing it, even though I mean it only as a physical form of expression. I think that we agree that it only takes a tiny push to get people to dance. She recalls a scene where

[The front-man] called out the girls on the fringe who were obviously wanting to dance, there was a brief explosion of shaking and shimmying. It wasn’t beautiful or coordinated, but spirited and free.

night life

I have as part of a small group in a large crowd, been the tipping point in getting people to dance. In the picture above we were at a dj’ed music night in a museum. The music was cheesy, but blasting. Our group, slightly lost without dance embrace, started doing our silliest strangest solo-ing. Quickly a circle formed. One of our group (not me :/ ) made eye contact with someone in the crowd and basically pulled them into dancing. With that one little break, a change came over the group and most people were dancing. People want to dance. Seeing others do so gives them the permission to do it themselves.

Now I personally want to have as many people as possible to dance with in the blues scene. I think that a great way  new dancers is to let the public see dancers. Going to music festivals, bars, live music venues etc. let the public see us. Sometimes we get people dancing with us despite them not being “dancers”. Many times this can serve as a first step. I want to dance in public more often and I want you to do it with me.


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Filed under blues dance, community, music, performance, socialization

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