Dancing Resembling Lugging Potatoes12 September 2010 Zie Nederlandse versie
by Arnold Jansen op de Haar
Dancing in public requires a bit of courage. It can be quite an amusing spectacle. Remember, for example, political correspondent John Sergeant on Strictly Come Dancing when it looked as if he lugged a sack of potatoes across the dance floor. Unfortunately it was his dance partner. This week it was announced that politician and writer Anne Widdecombe will take part in the new series. I am curious to see how she gets to grips with the ‘sack of potatoes’.
I love watching BBC Breakfast but they do mention Strictly Come Dancing just a little too often.
On the odd occasion that I dance I feel uncomfortable, except during the short period when I imagined that I was good at break dancing. Nowadays I keep quiet about this period. Quite frankly I was an acquired taste.
And I even know why. Recently a study by British and German scientists investigated what women find attractive about men dancing.
Women are keen on big, changing, flamboyant moves. They concentrate on head, neck and torso. Also a quick movement with the right knee influences appraisal. Maybe that is why Wayne Rooney attracts the ladies. Well, apart from a bulging bank account of course.
Evolutionary psychologist Nick Neave did admit that appearance, dress sense and socio-economical status cannot be discounted. That is why he had projected movements on characterless and sexless computer-generated persons, or avatars.
Arms and legs are less important. The ‘dad-dancing’ style is the least attractive. Those spastic repetitive movements represent the ‘Joe Cocker Style’. This makes me think of Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office; poor Joe Cocker.
I suspect my excessive monotonous arm and leg movements must have put off female appreciation of my break dancing. I am no longer flexible enough to break dance anyway.
At the cultural centre where I teach creative writing you can, apart from a course in clowning – ‘the course will drawn out the clown in you’ – also take part in dance courses.
I have managed to catch a performance of a dance class. The group consisted of fifteen beautiful young women. Choreography and execution were excellent. Shame about the two ugly bungling men at the back; they are not here for the dancing was my conclusion.
The participants of the West African Dance course performing on the same evening spring to mind. ‘West African dancing, that is not very specific,’ you may remark. I was about to ask the lady next to me about the difference between West and East African dances, but they had already started dancing.
Imagine fifteen white housewives in colourful African garments, bowing and twisting to a drum beat. Waving hand movements were also clearly important, and at one point it looked as if children were about to be born. I broke out in a sweat. I sincerely hoped their families were not in the audience. This was clearly the female equivalent of dad-dancing: mum-dancing.
Once I was dragged along by two friends to a tango salon. I didn’t dance the tango: I observed. The tango dancers – apparently called tangueros – were mostly middle-aged. Yet it reminded me of a school do: who asks whom? I spent the evening as a wallflower.
I have always hated discos. I want to talk, not dance. ‘Poets don’t dance’, a writer colleague once wrote. Yet sometimes, when I am alone at home, by a full moon, with beautiful music, I dance on my own through my living room. Lugging the potatoes.
© Arnold Jansen op de Haar
© Translation Holland Park Press
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