Monday, January 17, 2011

Blues Dancing

Last night a friend of mine, Reka, who has not yet been mentioned on the blog, said "Erin, come blues dancing." I think what was running through my mind was, "Sure, why not? What can go wrong if I Blues Dance?" So I said I would come and started to make my way to the place where the class is held. I was a little late because I only had a vague idea of where the place was and it was dark so I was walking a little slower than normal so as to not miss a turn.

Anyway, I really had a lot of fun. I danced as a younger person (ballet and tap) and then did a Salsa boot camp over the summer with my mother. I also used to do Swing dancing for a few of the '50s themed plays I was in. I've learned how to do a lot of cool little moves here and there, but it's been a while since I actually danced. I had forgotten that even though you stumble over yourself in the first few minutes it's actually a whole lot of fun. I was told that I was pretty good but I had to stop moving my hips so much. Apparently something stuck through the Salsa class because you use your hips an awful lot in Salsa.

After the class was over there were about 2 hours or so of just social dancing. I was asked a few times to dance, but mostly I just liked watching the more experienced dancers dance. It gave me time to reflect on the nature of dancing.

Now, I will be the first to criticize the "dancing" my generation does. Honestly, I don't think there's much skill involved in bumping and grinding. But as sexual as today's social dancing is, Blues and Swing dancing and Salsa and Ballroom is even more so. When I was watching some of the partners dance last night, it wasn't like watching the "sex-standing-up" style you see at clubs these days, but an intricate series of motions where the two people become one. At one point the two teachers (who also happen to be a couple) started dancing together during the sort of slow paced fast song. I can't really describe the song, but their dancing was amazing. It was hard not to watch only them instead of moving from group to group like normal. You could tell, just by the way they danced with each other and the way the looked at each other while dancing that it was more than dancing to them. It looked like an expression of "I really care about you, so I'm going to literally sweep you off your feet and twirl you around so that everyone knows that you're mine." After that I watched them dance with other partners and there was never that same expression of feeling until they started dancing together again. It was just gorgeous when they danced together.

This all made me think about whether the dance of choice reflects the way the generation comes to think of the body. If this is true, then the dancing my generation prefers reflects an attitude toward love and the body that I personally want no part of. It seems to me that that "dancing" shows a disrespect for the body. While during Swing dancing shows a fun nature, Blues a sensual, Salsa a fun and sensual one, and Ballroom a deep respect for it.

I know it sounds weird, because in Blues Dancing (well, real Blues Dancing. Not the stuff I was doing last night. I'm just too new to it) there is a lot of touching as well. One might say that it looks like a "sex-standing-up" style if it's done right and done between two people who honestly care about each other. But at least it's not the "hit it and quit it" sex you see in modern clubs.

I wish I could get my point across more clear, but this is the best I can do.

Needless to say that it had an effect on me and I had fun, so I'm probably going to continue to go to the beginners class and I'm going to continue to watch people spin around the first floor of the Irish Pub smiling and laughing and all in all having a good time. Reka wants to drag me to Swing dancing now. I don't know if I'll let her, but then again...

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