It’s late and having spent the evening listening to an eclectic selection of music, I find myself, once again, sighing and mourning the lost art of dancing. I don’t mean shaking your booty at the disco or raving it up with the gals, but rather the simple and, sadly lost, pleasure of being asked to dance and then being competently steered around the dance floor as a couple.
I grew up with a much older generation, one where chaps knew how to dance with girls. It was enormous fun and to this day, if someone were to ask me to dance a waltz, polka or two-step, I could probably follow quite competently. Sadly, though, such opportunities are rare as my generation, and probably the one before, gave up that style of dancing for the free-form gyrations we are familiar with now. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to close my eyes and lose myself if my own world on the dancefloor, but there is just something intimate and very sexy about dancing with someone, sharing that world of synchronous motion.
I have childhood memories of Saturday night gatherings in the dining room – cards, vodka, music and dancing, which sometimes meant I had to get out of bed, come downstairs and ask the grown-ups to keep the noise down. On high days and holidays, like Christmas and New Year (especially New Year) when I got to sip a little Babycham and stay up for the dancing in my long dress. I remember learning to dance, when I was very little being carried around and later, standing on the feet of my partner. Even as a teen, in the Polish community, dances (or balls) were still fairly common and I remember only managing not to break my neck doing the Polka in 5″ stilettos by virtue of a young lad’s strong arm around my waist. It wasn’t all dramatic poses and rigid postures with elbows at right angles and arses firmly jutting out, it was just casual dancing in an informal where you knew the basic steps. It was, essentially, fun; less “strictly ballroom” and closer to the slow dance at the end of the disco, but rather more up-tempo and less haphazard. (I hesitate to say less drunk, as there tended to be a lot of vodka at Polish dances).
Strictly Ballroom has brought about something of a revival in such things, but it is all rather formal and quite showy. I’d be happy just to see just a basic understanding and a little confidence. Dancing is the next best thing to sex and doing it alone is not nearly as much fun.