In the 80s classic movie “Footloose” Kevin Bacon plays a super cool teen who moves to a town where dancing and rock music have been banned and teaches them all to cut-a-rug, much to the constant dismay of John Lithgow’s character Reverend Shaw Moore. Audiences cheer when the Reverend gives in at the end and dances at the prom for the first time in years, but that’s where the movie lost me. Much like “Black Panther” is currently being hailed for the fact that it is offering under-represented minorities a chance at on-screen representation, up until that point Rev Shaw Moore had been my T’Challa. Until the moment he gave in and danced, he had been the only character I had seen on film whose open loathing for dancing matched my own.
I simply can’t see the attraction to it. I don’t understand why we as a society feel the urge to move rhythmically to music at almost every special occasion (this is one area where funerals absolutely crush the opposition). Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I like listening to it, and having it on in the background, I just don’t understand the bit where we stand up and sway, gyrate or jerk ourselves around in a predetermined area in time to it. Some people say it’s fun, I say it’s sweaty. And perhaps the last thing I understand is watching other people do it.
Maybe this makes me a troglodyte, but I don’t get what drives us as a species to cavort, let alone pay money to see others prance around. Ballet is quaint, the music is nice, but unless Natalie Portman is artistically stabbing herself before doing it, I have zero inclination to go to watch it – even for free. The fact that women will literally disfigure their bodies and starve themselves for years in order to do it is beyond mystifying. Perhaps in the days before the internet, and “the advertising industry” the dances provided some modicum of titillation? After all the outfits are so tight one of the main ballets is called the “Nutcracker suit” (suite whatever). These days we don’t need it. And we definitely don’t need contemporary upgrades. Most forms of modern dance look like a seizure, and I won’t pay for that, though ironically I may be tempted into paying to watch someone have an actual seizure. “Ah but look at the tango it’s so sexy!” I hear fans cry. It isn’t. It’s two oily, elderly people dry-humping. If I want to see that I will go to the pub.
Dancing is without a doubt the absolute worst of all the arts. If you are a professional dancer, then please stop. You are only wasting our time, and yours.
Perhaps the lowest example of this art form is the dancing reality TV show. Unfathomably in their hundredth season each “Strictly Come Dancing” and “Dancing With The Stars” are like watching the same Youtube video of Larry from accounts getting carried away at an office Christmas party for hours on end. The draw card is supposed to be the celebrities, but MNET’s latest “Dancing With The Stars” has so few recognisable faces they should have called it “Dancing with people”. The line-up includes a former Miss SA, three people who used to be in national sports teams, and a genuine track star’s mother. Look I am all for public humiliation as a TV concept, but dancing? Couldn’t we just throw rocks at Frank Opperman in a town square and call it a day?
I know what many of you are thinking now. Of course I don’t get it. I am a middle-aged grumpy white man, and exactly the kind of person kids have to teach to be happy again with their choreographed dancing in the streets, but that’s where you are wrong. Unlike all those other middle-aged grumpy white men from the movies, I will never surrender. You will never warm my cold heart, I will never dance for the first time in years at your prom. I am the Bane to your Batman of boogie, and you never see Bane dance – unless he is super drunk with a tie around his head.