I believe in dancing. Since the dawn of time, people have gotten their groove on and boogied down on all kinds of occasions and for all kinds of reasons. Some ancient peoples danced to give praise to their god. Some danced to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Some danced to bring rain or good fortune. Whatever they felt, whatever they were passionate about, they expressed by dancing.
Fast forward to today and much of the same holds true. Although people might not be dancing to the gods of wind, fire and rain, dance still plays a huge role in modern culture. It has adapted perfectly to our sex-driven society. This should be no surprise. It follows naturally from the fact that we are very sensual and passionate people that our dances convey very sensual and passionate feelings. I won’t go into detail about what today’s movements suggest, but if you’d like to get a general idea feel free to pay a visit to a local night club. The dancing that you find there may surprise you a bit though, so be warned. It isn’t the Macarena or the Twist, but something that much more resembles what you might see on the Discovery Channel during mating season.
It hasn’t always been this way, of course. Dance used to be much more conservative. When Elvis first gyrated his hips on national television people were shocked! How could someone be moving their body like that for all to see? But the young people embraced this taboo style of dance and began experimenting with it themselves. The flood gates truly burst when the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, blatantly grabbed himself as part of his dance routine. Shocking, maybe, but more importantly these sexual movements are perfect evidence of dance’s ability to reduce people to their most primal selves. It’s inside of us. Dance simply gives us a way to embrace it.
What intrigues me most about dancing, however, is that as we embrace it, it embraces us—even takes over us. I can personally attest to its influence. Hearing the beat triggers one of the simplest instincts inside of me. My foot starts tapping, then maybe my hand slaps against my knee in rhythm with the song. My shoulders begin to sway and my head bobs with the music. Before I know what’s happening, I’m up, out of my chair, and bustin’ a move. I don’t bother fighting it. There’s no point. The way I look at it, what better way to truly enjoy myself than to dance a dance I simply can’t help dancing? The most spectacular part is, anyone can experience this. It doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad, smooth or jerky, only that the rhythm moves you.
I believe in dancing. Such an old tradition that we all still follow. The steps have changed but the passion never died. Our rhythms flow differently but our bodies still move. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Dance is timeless.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.