Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dirty Dancing Grinds Me Down

My limerick about Lansing, Kansas ...
There once was a Baptist from Lansing,
With morality always advancing,
Said, "I'll never make love
On Earth or above.
Why not? Well, it may lead to dancing."

I use this as an intro to what reader "Ink" writes of her impression of the Beaux-Arts Ball that she and her college school of architecture classmates attended ...

When I looked out at the dance floor, I saw what looked like a writhing orgy of black and skin (architects always wear black; I stood out in blue).  The style of “dance” was what is called “grinding,” and it is pretty much obscene… not to mention that very few people show up to Beaux-Arts sober (being in the sober contingency is a little frustrating sometimes).  The whole thing made me sad.  What has been lost is an appreciation for culture and beauty, as well as any skill in dancing whatsoever.  Most dances which would qualify as “ballroom” dances are inherently gendered: the lead and follow is built in.  It requires sacrifice and submission on both parts; the leader is in charge of making all the decisions, whether he wants to or not, and the follower has to obey, whether she wants to or not.  Otherwise, they’ll go nowhere and probably run into each other.  And I really like that; it means that “Do you want to dance?” becomes a question which doesn’t involve some guy trying to rub himself all over you with music so loud you can’t hear yourself think and instead an opportunity for humour as you try to learn his leader-signals (each leader has his own little quirks) and follow what he tells you to do, while sometimes (or often) having to stop and say “wait, WHAT?” if his signals don’t translate to actions well.  It requires genuine attention on the part of both parties, making the social aspect more apparent as you can actually talk to each other.

Now what Ink may not know is that dancing is just like sex - and indeed sex is just like life.

On the one hand we have the Modern Barbarians who bump and grind, missing the entire poetry of movement and of relationship.  The grind is to dancing what hammering a nail is to a symphony.   A symphony includes many elements, rhythm, melody, harmonics, tone, theme - all of which combine in a coordination of beauty.  Hammering a nail isn't even musical - it's a functional act that resembles one element of music - rhythm - but is really only a brute approximation of it, falling shy even of mere rhythm itself.

Grinding is likewise an element of sex, but only a functional one that is only a brute approximation of the whole symphony.

If these New Age Brutes don't know how to dance, they don't really know how to make love - which is about more than hammering nails.  And if they can't dance, they probably can't read - read a partner, a book, or even the writing on the wall.  We have educated them to ignorance, led them to grunts and grinds and given them a diploma and a plaque to show them how sophisticated they are.  And we wonder why civilization is ending.

A view of my brief career as a show hall dancer - more proof that civilization is ending


Anonymous said...

Might be best next time to go with the classic, long, black gloves than those white ones. Just saying ;p


Anonymous said...

I dunno, I think the feather trim at the edge suits him nicely!