Newest Review: ... time I loved this old thing! It didn't seem to matter to my other dance teacher that I had 2 left feet, the main thing to her was t... more
A Favourite Thing: Dancing
Dancing in General
Member Name: miriamb
Dancing in General
Date: 13/07/02, updated on 13/07/02 (177 review reads)
Advantages: enlivening, enduring, adaptable
Disadvantages: none I can think of right now
When I started thinking about what was my favourite, favourite thing in the whole world ever, various things came to mind. I thought of my wonderful father and brother, who I’ve put through so much, yet have remained constantly there for me. I thought about music, that has enriched so many days and nights and months and seasons and even years. And of course, I thought about pizza and chocolate and Ben and Jerrys ice-cream and flowers and fireworks and specific films and memories and dreams… And for good few hours I thought “Nope, this is too difficult, can’t possibly pick ONE thing that I love above everything else”.
Then I thought again, and slept on it, and decided that I couldn’t cop out that easily. This wasn’t a normal everyday opinion, it’s a celebration of a special individual’s continuing life, and should reflect what makes my life worth living and makes it wonderful and makes me smile. So working on the basis that if I didn’t contribute, I would be disrespecting that important anniversary, and that the celebration is of life itself, and that whatever I finally chose should be highly personal, enduring and ongoing, I picked Dancing.
I’d love to be able to reel off a fact-packed historical journey from the origins of dance to the present day, highlighting key movements and moments, but I’m sorry, I can’t. This op would probably become tediously long and despite my best efforts would undoubtedly still contain omissions and errors. So what you’re getting instead is my personal history of dance. (If you’re looking for a “proper” opinion on Dancing in General, you may wish to peruse the other opinions within this category!)
So, if you’re still with me, off we go…
The home I was brought up in was incredibly musical, guitars and keyboards and the piano and singing everywhere. Which was great but I’m
not musically gifted, giving up after numerous piano lessons, guitar tutorials from my dad, school-based recorder and clarinet classes. But what I did get from my home environment was a love of music. I remember when I was little doing that ‘walking up my dad’s legs while he held my hands and doing a roly-poly back to the ground’ thing, and being swung around in the air, and so often this was at least with the background of music, if not exactly in time to it.
At about 4, I can just about remember a party across the road and playing musical statues – surely the earliest experience of dancing for anyone? And then the 3 years from when I was 6, maypole dancing at school, all dressed up and spring-like, twining the multi-coloured ribbons as we skipped and sang. Again at school, country dancing where you skip backwards and forwards to “Now take your partner by the hand..” etc etc., spinning in circles and through lines of other people. It was never actually cool to enjoy these lessons but everyone did anyway, it all felt so frivolous and non-schooly and so people put their awkwardness to one side and tried to fall into the rhythm. There was no hierarchy and people just giggled and bumbled their way through it. Happy memories!
Despite not being a gymnast by any stretch of the imagination, I involved myself in my form’s gym team at secondary school, purely to enjoy some educationally-sanctioned dancing. I just about managed the required three gym moves in order to spend the lunchtimes bopping away to Madonna. And then I was 14, and proper clubs awaited (yes really!). Saturday nights spent euphorically jumping around to indie-cool were quickly replaced by more sedate house nights, where shimmying and fancy-footwork was all, and the bass dictated that swing of the hips or nod of the head.
Next, proper techno, and the pounding beats that were mirrored by my feet, then junglist drum ‘n
8217; bass with its more complicated rhythm structure that on occasion had me slinking away to wait for a more dance floor friendly number. Salsa, reggae and dub nights that led to more expressive and soulful sashaying and stepping, and onwards, to Latin inspired frenetic percussion pieces and slinkier, slicker world music collaborations. And here we are.
Always in the background were the jump up guitar based indie-pop, and the proper pure girlie pop that I’d sing along to quietly whilst flexing and stepping and swinging and shaking. And all the while, regardless of the pace or sound, I would be dancing along with a big grin on my face, until my feet were too painful to actually stop the constant weight-shifting, and then until my legs were just too tired to carry on moving.
In case you haven’t picked it up yet, I love dancing. I love the freedom, the sense of space, the feeling of being engulfed in the beat, the rhythms that capture your soul and whisk you away. I adore that sense of surrender when your toes start tapping and your feet start shuffling and your hips start swaying, and remaining still is just not an option. With your eyes closed and the most contented smile on your lips and the beads of sweat breaking on your face, I love it. Nothing makes me feel more goddess-like and more in tune with my physical self than releasing myself to music. Even just writing this I’m grinning away to myself!
Oh and just think of the contexts! A girlie night out or a seriously cool club, solo dancing on the podium or getting up close and personal with the object of your affection, the vertical expression of a horizontal desire for that gorgeous figure you’ve spotted, or just that tribal sense of being part of a heaving dance floor.
Nowadays of course there’s the added virtue factor that I’m actually getting a work-out while enjoying myself, but often that’s only remembered after t
he fact, when I’m reminded by my aching muscles and blistered feet! (Just remember to drink lots of water all the time and every day!)
I’m currently trying to locate do-able dance classes to extend my repertoire to include the merengue, mambo and samba styles and I’ve found various websites pretty helpful. The best of these was www.dancesport.uk.com, which contains details of classes, teachers, events and venues all over the UK, as well as comprehensive information covering different styles, dance wear and shoes, music CDs and instructional DVD/videos, dance holidays and an awful lot more. I’ve never had any formal dance training before, so wish me luck!
But even if you’re not interested in learning a specific style of dance, go out dancing this weekend and let yourself flow to the music. Or just stay in, but put your favourite CD on and dance around the living room, or kitchen, or even bedroom if you’re that way inclined! You know you love it really, the rush of adrenalin and endorphins as you react to your choice of sounds and beats lifts the spirits like nothing else. You’ll be getting that all-important cardiovascular activity and you won’t even notice the time going by!
So there you go. My favourite thing. Pipping music to the post only because by dancing I become involved, physically, with the rhythms. No longer a passive listener, more of a participant. And, consequently, engaged, energised, enlivened, empowered, enriched. So Dance, then, wherever you may be…
"Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just wr
ite about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."