Posted tagged ‘you dancing? you asking?’

The politics of dancing

August 13, 2011



Without bumping my gums too much, I’d say I’m quite adept at Djalminha overheel flicks, Panenka penalties and Laudrup drag-dribbles. All this fancy footwork stands me in no stead when I Ronaldo stepover to the dance floor. Suddenly, I’m the worst player on the park.

Routine dance movements like waltzes or ballroom dancing can be practised and smacks of socialism to me. These sketches are too conformist with everyone in robotic choreography and lacks individualism, if you ask me. A few lessons and you’re on your way, one big happy line dance. Freestyle dancing or make it up as the beat goes on is a more celebrated type of dance. This is the choice dance of discos, parties, shindigs, raves, knees-ups and the like. The trouble, of course, is if you are a poor dancer.

Regularly at a family get together I’ll stay on the sidelines (the subs bench) while the music plays. In this environment I know my part and I‘m more attuned to acting as a coach. My sister is a good sport who will play along with my directions. When she’s dancing I’ll shout out to her to incorporate some occupational dancing to the party.

Do the fisherman: She’ll cast an imaginary line and reel in a whopper of a fish.

Do the lumberjack: Axe-wielding manoeuvres of cutting down trees are enacted on the dance floor.

Do the biker: Wheelies abound with wide chopper handlebars to the fore.

She soon tires of my machinations content to go with the flow, joining the other shakers in the jumbled field of sound, lights and movement.

As there is no coordination between my arms, legs and hips I can only talk a good dance. The Maradona/Pele conundrum exists in the dancing world; you’re either in the Fred Astaire camp or the John Travolta one. Notwithstanding the trinity believers who would add the dark horse, Nijinsky, into the mix.

Being a right-winger most of my life- though I have played centre-mid on occasion- it’s surprising that the dancing I most admired was the Marxist collectivism of Pan’s People. Teenage joy, indeed.

For too long I have fretted over my poor reflex to rhythmic songs. It has crossed my mind to hone my technique while in the privacy of my own home. As an adherent to the run before you walk school I started break-dancing. In all likelihood it was the worst hip-hop performance ever. Still, it cured my back of that itch I couldn’t reach.

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