Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On not dancing

There's this interesting and curious article over at Medium, Please respect my decision not to dance, by Henry Reich, though I don't think he's right in characterizing ours as a "dance normative" society. More like dance ambivalent and conflicted.
People seem to be able to respect my other decisions not to do things — they respect my decision not to bungee jump, not eat mustard or drink coffee or beer (all of which I think taste disgusting), not to smoke, even not to eat meat. But the problem is that going to places where there is dancing is at times an unavoidable part of modern socializing — dancing is often the expected entertainment at weddings and concerts, at bars and clubs, and at parties with friends. And unlike how tea or juice or water tend to be available at coffee shops in addition to coffee, it’s quite common for there to be nothing to do at a dancing venue other than not dance.

And I just have no taste for dancing. I don’t enjoy it and it definitely doesn’t make me feel good. When I do dance, I always feel like I’m forcing it, these weird artificial flailing and shaking motions I’m trying to make my body do. This is not what my arms and legs were built for.
He goes on to point out that he's a musician and feels drawn to play music whenever he hears music:
... in fact, I can’t listen to music while doing other things like homework or reading or working the way most people can — I find myself drawn inexorably into music, it distracts me, captures my attention, and even compels me to act. Act, yes. Dance, no.
I understand how he feels. When I'm at dancing occasions I have, for the most part, been like Reich. I stay away from the dance floor and don't like to be approached about dancing. On those occasions when I'm in the band that's supplying the music – which I have been for many years – things are easy. Since I'm in the band, playing music, no one expects me to dance; but I can enjoy (making the) music and watching the others dance.

But there was a time, and a certain scene, when I danced. And enjoyed doing so. We're just not there now.

And I think there's more to Mr. Reich's story than he's telling us or than he even knows.


1 comment:

  1. Similar with dancing here particularly at weddings. Do you have the same issues with alcohol its even worse? I stopped drinking years ago and it altered utterly the way I socialized, its more or less considered anti-social not to drink here and it really upsets people and causes them considerable anxiety if you do not.

    Few occasions during the year when its just far less hassle to sit with a pint rather than going with the orange juice option and face a worried interrogation for the rest of the night from a variety of concerned parties.