Working with Wonder (example event)
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Dancing, human movement that is free of linear purpose, (maintenance work: get this, do that, go there); that is motivated by a desire to articulate a physical response to music, infused with feeling, is a profound act of political subversion.
But I’ll get to that. Let me first just expound upon the virtues of dance as I’ve come to understand them.
The process of dance, disinhibits patterns of social control, it loosens thinking, feeling and imagining, so that the mind and body are able to apprehend a sense of freedom.
On being yourself and belonging
“Being yourself” is so easily affected by external opinion and “likes”, (especially for younger people tied to the whims of social media), and “belonging” so inextricably bound to image, that any notion of being oneself is easily subjugated by fear of rejection.
Dancing, and giving in to the urge, is like giving yourself permission to be, do and act in the way you want. Seems to me this is an excellent message to receive. It brings the onus on belonging, back to the self. It is an intrinsic message of affirmation and self-acceptance. What better bedrock upon which to be oneself, unashamedly and free of an external judge and jury.
On being yourself in community
Dancing with other people who are also dancing, encourages a communal agreement that says: “This is okay, it is okay to express, be, feel…” Where the dance floor is open and multi-directional there are 360 degrees of potential for facing, expressing and directing the dance. This then encourages interaction between people, more engagement in community, harnessing the expression of: “This is okay, and we’re all in it together.”
Dance parties have the potential to encourage this type of dancing. And yet, increasingly I notice that something else happens instead. A unified force of facing the front. Of busting learnt moves on one hand, and a torpid inertia on the other. Of bumping into others with flagrant disregard at best, and nefarious intent at worst (gross acts of groping and unsolicited touch). None of these lend themselves to the sense of freedom I described at the top. Nor do they inspire it in others. Worse, they actually detract from and breed something else, something boring, and staid, and way too common. Something, many of us, were moving away from when we came to the dancefloor in the first place.