I’ve never quite understood people’s desire to dance. I love music, (including, ironically, some of what is often loosely termed “dance music”), but at no point while listening to it do I feel the need to wiggle, gyrate, lunge or contort myself rhythmically. It just doesn’t do anything for me.I’ve had flirtations with dancing in the past. At school I used to take part in “country dancing” (perhaps better known as “square dancing”), which basically consisted of walking around in circles aimlessly. In the early 80s I was briefly into body popping and breakdancing (but then again, who wasn’t?). And during my drinking years (1992 – 1996) the alcohol occasionally drowned out the little voice in my head that said “Don’t try to dance – you’ll look like a twat”, and I would venture out onto the dancefloor, invariably alone. Mercifully the alcohol also wiped any memories of what I actually did once I got there.
Now I have nothing against dance as an art form, although I tried watching a traditional ballet recently and could see nothing to get excited about: the women spin around, the men pick them up and put them down again, everyone jumps up and down a bit. Repeat for two hours. Some modern forms of dance I find quite watchable, and I might even be happy to give them a try if it involves learning a specific, structured set of steps, but I find jiggling about to a pop song gets very boring very quickly.
But what’s even more boring is certain people’s response to this attitude. I’m not allowed not to want to dance. If other people are in a party mood and want to dance, then I must join in, right? If I don’t, it must be because I’m a stuffy, repressed killjoy, right? It must be because I don’t really know how to let go and enjoy myself, It must be because I don’t like music, I don’t feel it…
Well, no. I feel it, I just don’t need to display what I feel. Expressing the feeling physically doesn’t make me feel it any more intensely – if anything, it’s a distraction. So go ahead – wiggle and writhe it it makes you feel good. I’ll be sat over here listening to the music, thanks.
UPDATE: Stephen Fry, as usual, has put it better (if not quite so succinctly) than I ever could: http://stephenfry.com/blog/#more-41