Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today's Shuffle: It's only right that you should play the way you feel it

Funny, I just bought a vinyl copy of Rumours on Saturday. The best riding-in-the-back-of-the-car-as-a-kid song ever.

Fleetwood Mac, Dreams Rumours
Sting, Desert Rose Brand New Day
Cash Audio, Hide Away The Orange Sessions
Duran Duran, Planet Earth - Night Version Singles Box Set 1981-1985
Sade, Long Hard Road Soldier of Love
Van McCoy, The Hustle Hustle and the Best of Van McCly
Erykah Badu, Drama Baduizm
The Jam, The Planner's Dream Goes Wrong The Gift
Groove Armada, Lazy Moon Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)
The Police, Masoko Tanga Outlandos d'Amour
Neil Young, When You Dance, After the Goldrush
George Michael, Flawless (Go To the City) Patience

Here I thought The Hustle was simply a line dance--au con-bellbottomed-traire!

I miss actual social dancing. Of course, how can I miss it, I was a small child when this last vestige of it was happening (and in addition I thought this was a line dance)? I'm only exposed to it at wedding receptions, in which my situation (no dance partner currently on hand) and interest level in social dancing (zero) can dictate that I beat tracks to the bar, or when in the company of my brother-in-law's family, who are all from Colombia, where everyone not only dances, but does it with carefree zest, having been introduced to it around the age that I was longingly hearing disco songs and watching people get in lines and shimmy sort-of-together (or Saturday Night Fever).

Social, or couple, dancing is pretty much a joke these days, in every sense of the word. People are indentured into it, whether it's the one and only time they have to dance presentably and without a shield of jokey self-deprecation, their "first dance" as a married couple (for which it's now a thing, I've heard, to get lessons for that single flop-sweat-inducing span of four minutes), or it's the end of a long night full of many emptied bottles, resulting in a sort of handsy, sloppily provocative lean into another body in hopes of leaning into that body even more later.

Social dancing--not dancing-dancing, whereby you dance alone but in a group and you are wearing a cute top and jeans and don't care how sweaty you get or where your coat is because you're in a cool place without dancefloor stalkers or thieves and the drinks are cheap--because GOD this is the best time ever--is about getting action, then. Color me cynical, but that's what I believe it has become. Less about process and more about the end--like many, many, many things in this hustle of life.

What happened to dancing just to dance?

That's where my Colombian in-law-in-laws come in, and, maybe, Latin culture in general (bear with me, I will probably generalize next). A few years ago we (my sister, brother-in-law) and I went to a Latin club to check out the dancing while I was out east for a visit. They'd either been there once, or heard it was a good time. We grabbed some beers and a table by the dance floor. Once a particularly beguiling song began, they took to the floor, and I watched. I was fine watching. Except for that tapping foot. See, because the problem is when I actually do hear music I want to dance to, that is beguiling, well, I want to dance to it. But we weren't at Neo or Liars Club or (let's take it back now) the Artful Dodger or Mad Planet, so I couldn't simply fling my drink onto the table and shimmy across the floor like I was hearing "Got To Give It Up (Parts 1 and 2)" or "Mirror in the Bathroom" or "Atomic Dog" or I could go on... So I sat. No problem, I am used to not having the dance partner on hand (see above), either because of distance or partner's (if indeed one is present) lack of interest in dancing.

Then a guy came over and gestured to the floor, and to me, asking, "do you want to dance?" My immediate reaction: WHAT THE HELL DOES HE WANT, DOES HE THINK I WILL SPEND THE REST OF THE EVENING WITH HIM? Then...pause...okay, what the hell. We danced a rhumba (that's what either he or my bro-in-law or both told me later). He showed me the steps. And I had a wonderful time--just dancing. He was a lovely and friendly man and he just wanted to dance because we were in a place for dancing and I wasn't and the point is, for him, for the Colombians whom I've partied with and for (maybe) Latin culture in general, everyone should dance.


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