October 13, 2005

Kick off your Sunday shoes

This morning I read a blog post written by a father who was dancing at home with his very young daughter. That image brought back memories. I can remember being home with my small kids on grey rainy days and turning the music on to dance, more for me than them. Allowing my body to move to a rhythm always brightened my mood, made the day seem less grey. On Saturday evenings, we used to always have a dance party, listening to an oldies station and dancing in the living room with our own kids and a bunch of extras.

Even now, when I'm home grading papers on a grey morning, alone in the house since all my kids are old enough for school, I'll take a break to turn on some music and dance, shimmying and twirling and moving past the sink of dirty dishes and the carpets that need to be vacuumed. Sometimes I will put on Middle Eastern music to do my belly dancing drills. Other times (and I hate to admit this because at least one person in this community will mock me for my music choices), I'll put on the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing or Footloose. I love to dance. I love the movement, the energy, the way it makes my body feel.

Two of the academic conferences I go to host dances as part of the conference. In my field, conference presentations can often be stiff and formal, so watching my colleagues loosen up on the dance floor lets me see them in a different light. Dancing helps turn a group of people from all different geographic locations into a community. I often wonder how different our culture would be if we all spent more time dancing.

16 comments:

Nels said...

I've always avoided the dance at the conference becuse I'm not sure I can handle seeing some of those stars of the field cutting a rug, and I'm not sure I want to be seen that way, either. That's why I'll go clubbing all alone and love it.

jo(e) said...

Nels: So do you think it's weird for me to brag to my students that I've danced with Peter Elbow?

Hey, aren't we both going to be at the FourSeas (please note the clever pseudonym) next year? We will have to plan some kind of adventure ....

Friday Mom said...

When I was a kid, I was too embarassed to dance. SFW has helped me get over that self-consciousness. Sometimes there's just nothing more freeing and fun than to let my body move to the rhythm of the music. Is it "graceful"? Hell no, but who cares? It makes me feel great!

jo(e) said...

When I was young, I sometimes had friends who wouldn't dance because they were afraid they wouldn't "look good." I always explained to them that few people, unless they've got years of ballet training, look good dancing. Looking good is not the point. Dancing is all about how good your body feels. It's about moving and sweating and feeling the rhythm.

Usually, once they realized they were under no pressure to look good, they would be willing to join me on the dance floor.

Scrivener said...

Now, what makes you think I would ever mock your music choices?

jo(e) said...

Oh, admit it, Scrivener, when it comes to music, you are a snob.

Not Scott said...

I'm almost always one of the first people out on the dance floor. This might sound like I'm bragging, but sadly, in most of the bars I've been to, it takes like 4 or 5 songs by the band before anyone starts dancing. I'm not notably brace or un-self-conscious. In fact, I really dislike being the first one dancing. But, I no longer stay out until the end of the gig, so if I want to dance, I have to go out early and get up a sweat.

But, man, it is no fun to be the only couple still dancing after two more songs. Things are so much easier with a child. Any dancing is permissable.

joanna said...

Maybe you and Nels can do a panel called "(I Won't) Belly Dance at the Four Seas: The Rhetoric of Bodcasting."

Just a thought.

ccw said...

How can a person not dance to Footloose? I love to dance around the house and do it often to all types of music. Even Barney is bearable if you dance.

You are right, dancing is not about looking good. I think everyone would be happier if they danced more.

Phantom Scribbler said...

My standby on rainy days was a CD mix I dubbed "Club Mama." We used to have a damn fine time listening to it. Now we just do the shuffle. The iPod shuffle, I mean. It's not quite the same.

I wonder where my old cassette of the Footloose soundtrack went to?

Rana said...

I _adore_ dancing, especially if there's a lot of rhythm and percussion to it, encouraging one to jump and wiggle and kick.

In college, I used to dance so much sometimes that I made blood blisters in my feet.

Now, not so much. :(

I live for things like weddings and retreats, where there _will_ be dancing, and, as the hour wears on, it gets more and more relaxed and crazy. (I can do formal dance steps, but that's nowhere's near as fun.)

RussianViolets said...

I have very fond memories of those soundtracks, but you know, I cannot dance to save my life. :-(

Laura said...

I was thinking about that the other day--out of nowhere, I mentioned to my husband that I wished we danced more. I NEVER went to a dance growing up, and I did not actually dance at a dance until I was 20. I danced all the time at home. I never wanted anyone to see me. If I were to see my colleagues dancing, I would bust up. I would NOT dance in front of them. And I find that very sad, as it shows just how inhibited I am about my body (back to the food post)--I don't want people watching me move. And yet, what would it be like to have people watching me move and not worry?

Julie said...

I once had a job where all the employees were offered a free aerobics class. It was so fun, and funny, to do this with people I worked with. It sure gave me a different perspective on them. Dancing, I imagine, would be ten times better.

Sam Chevre said...

I love pattern dancing--it is so much more community-social (you're dancing with the whole group, not just your partner) and it's generally easier for me to do (I have a very poor sense of rhythm). The only problem is that it's not nearly as much fun to contra-dance or line dance by yourself.

jess said...

I've always wished that we lived in a culture where dancing was an integral part of socializing. That probably accounts for half of my love of things like Jane Austen, the Forstye Saga, and The Motorcycle Diaries. I always disliked school dances, though - never my kind of dancing. But I do have a soft spot for things like ceilis, even if I make fun of half the people there.