It’s well over a year since I wrote ‘Bloke Dancing’ and to be honest, despite some positive feedback and a decent amount of views via various social media platforms it’s been a total failure; I’m still just as lonely, craving some male company. OK, there are a few of us blokes, but we hardly ever get a chance to talk to each other due to the requirement to keeeeeeep dancing. The ladies however get plenty of chance for a chat; waiting for one of us blokes to become available. Not that I’m complaining, but come on lads… where-the-hell-are-you?
It’s not all bad news though. A few of us ‘blokes’ adjourn to the pub after salsa. A couple of us are out on ‘long leads’ and one of us is gaining the reputation for having a girl on every dance floor, which may or may not be the case so I’m sticking the word ‘allegedly’ in at this point for legal reasons.
Anyway, I’m going to try a different tack this time. It’s all about the music.
You know that foot tapping feeling you get when you listen to music? And then there are the times when you’re sitting about at a wedding, beer in hand, trying to avoid eye contact so that you can dodge a humiliating excursion onto the dance floor, but with a nagging feeling that if you could just find the right moves, then you could let yourself go and have some fun.
The foregoing is particularly pertinent when you are listening to music that you like. Randy Newman’s Falling-in-love always did it for us; didn’t matter where we were (Tesco was a bit embarrassing), we’d get up and give it a crack.
I’m probably not alone in this, but despite thoroughly enjoying the dancing, I don’t necessarily enjoy the ‘proper’ music that goes with it. Also, I’ve concluded that I don’t really want to get serious enough about it to worry too much about style. And it gets worse. Going to a Milonga (an event where Argentine tango is danced) or indeed any other formal dancing fills me with dread. That’s enough to be getting on with, so if you haven’t screamed a rude word at your screen, ticked the ‘thumbs down’ box and then cut me off in disgust, please let me try to explain.
A lot of ‘proper’ dance music associated with a particular style isn’t that easy for a novice to dance to (well, this novice at any rate) and to be honest, if I don’t like the music, then I ain’t much interested in dancing to it. But then it’s the same with anything; some people love heavy metal, whilst others consider it useful only as part of a torture regime. So the key point here is that it doesn’t really matter. If you have a go at dancing then there will be music that you may not initially like dancing to, but it will grow on you. And there will be music that you will never come to appreciate; so what? There is also however the music that you love and you will be surprised at what you can dance to once you have mastered a few basic steps and learnt how to let the music take control. I’ve recently rediscovered Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman… which just makes me want to tango… and then there’s the image of Stevie Nicks to go with it… hang on a mo, I’m going off on one.
You don’t have to be that fussed about doing it properly
I bet there are a lot of people like me who just want to learn a few steps and dance with a broad grin on their face. Take this stuff too seriously and you’ll break one of the the fundamental rules of life… ‘dance like nobody’s watching’. Do a bit of googling about the Argentine tango though and you’ll come across the etiquette associated with this beautiful dance, which for a novice can seem intimidating, but is in my view unnecessary for those of us who don’t want to get involved in ‘the scene’ or indeed take it too seriously.
The current Mrs O’Neill and I stayed at Yaiza on Lanzarote last year. Yaiza has a very large town square and so armed with (in)appropriate music loaded onto my phone, each night we strolled to the square, fired up the music in my shirt pocket and tangoed badly to our hearts content. A few locals wandered by, stopped, looked perplexed, and then, when they realised what was going on, smiled appreciatively at a couple enjoying themselves…
…which explains why going to a milonga would fill me with dread.
So I guess it’s street dancing for us. We love this video. Forget the fact that this pair can really, and I mean really dance; that’s not the point; just look at the expressions on their faces and the fun that they are having. Contrived? Over edited? Most certainly, but who cares, the joy that this video communicates is, I believe, what dancing is about. And look out for the old boy with the backpack… infectious!
And my point is…
If you enjoy music, then the act of turning the rhythm in your head into movement will fire up your endorphins, titillate your pleasure zones and with a few basic moves give you and your partner a lot of fun. One totally unexpected element of learning to dance has been that I now listen to music differently; my first reaction while swaying from side to side or counting (uno dos tres, cinco seis siete…) is to consider how to dance to it.
And now for the plug. In this effort to persuade a few more blokes to give it a try I’m majoring on the musicality; my point being that if you can dance to the music you love, then you’ll enjoy the music that you love even more. The place we go to learn uses all types of music to suit a style of dance, both traditional and contemporary. So if you live in the Seaton/Bridport area, I can thoroughly recommend Salsa Sabai
And, I could do with the company.