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A Passion for Dance

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This is another article I wrote last year while thinking of the Mind-Body issue.

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I began my love affair with dancing in middle school, and our relationship has grown stronger with each passing year. It started at a YMCA summer camp high in the Applalachains. I didn't know any of the other kids aside from camp, so I was less worried what they thought about me. I would flail my arms about wildly to the rhythm; hop, skip and jump across the floor; or grab a girl by the arm and spin her around till we both fell down dizzy. Some kids would make fun of me, but I think they were just jealous. I was having more fun than anyone else!

My puppy love for dance turned into a full blown love affair my sophomore year in high school, when I went to my first techno dance party, or "rave." I spent hours just walking around and watching people dance. There were incredibly athletic breakdancers, hip hop dancers, even ballet dancers. Everyone had his own style, but each style was dictated by the rhythm and the variations in the music. It was beautiful, spontaneously ordered chaos. Over the years, I went to lots of raves and late night clubs, each time developing my own signature style of dance more acutely. I became quite good, and was proud of the crowds I would attract to watch me. Any feelings of anxiety about others watching me completely disappeared. To this day, I'm usually the first person on the dance floor at a club, and oftentimes the last to leave.

In college, I started trying different kinds of clubs and learning different styles of dance. The majority of clubs in college towns are hip hop / top 40's clubs, so that seemed like a good place to start. Hip hop can be very difficult when you start out with techno. Techno is all about coordinating your limbs to move in straight lines or curves with respect to one another. Your arms, legs, and head are active, but usually your hips stay in the same place. Hip hop is just the opposite; your hips are the source of the beat and the music. Once you learn the style, though, it can be very sexy and sensual. Hip hop introduced me to couples dancing, which is uncommon in techno clubs. Having no prior experience with couples dancing, it took me a while to learn to improvise on the spot with women I'd never met before. Learning to couples dance seemed the next natural step (no pun intended).

Ballroom dancing came very quickly to me, and I fell in love all over again. Once you know the basic steps and a few moves, you can make up whatever you want. Learning the different ballroom styles opens up a whole new world of specialty-type clubs that can fill a lifetime. If you've never been, I *highly* recommend visiting a ballroom club or Swing club that offers a free lesson before they open up the dance floor. Try your best to participate, and look around at the experienced dancers. Each with his own style, each a spontaneous work of art in motion, each having the time of his life! I'm still in the beginning stages of learning ballroom (I should probably take an actual lesson or three). I'm fortunate enough to have the lovely and matchless Kelly Meg available to teach me Swing. She's really *really* good! And we'll tackle the other styles together.

Learning to dance is fun in and of itself, but it has positive effects on many other aspects of your life. It helps you feel more comfortable with your body, more natural in your own skin. This effects the way you walk and communicate non-verbally, especially with those of the opposite sex. Dance gives you a better psycho-epistemological understanding of your sexuality. Not only do you have better non-verbal communication, you can recognize it more easily in others. An acute awareness of your own body is a powerful potential source of psychological visibility and romantic pleasure. Another romantic goodie: ballroom-type dance clubs are a great place to meet women/men! Very few complete morons frequent such places. But I digress!

If you don't dance, especially if it makes you uncomfortable, you own it to yourself to give it a shot. You might fall in love like I did. Don't worry, I won't get too jealous.

--Dan Edge

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Well, your passion for dancing is pretty clear, and I always love to see passion for something proper. And it would seem you have given a lot of thought into why you like dancing, if only more fans of dancing I know would do the same. :-)

I do not dance myself, not because it seems like something I would not enjoy, and I would not mind learning some one day later down the track, just not a social event, at least not on the scale you indicate in this article. I think ballroom dancing is the way I would want to go, I thought as much before I read this, and you helped me clarify that, thanks :-)

I never quite thought about dancing being so useful for developing ones non-verbal communication skills. However, you might be on to something here, it certiantly bears consideration.

It would also be a great way for me to develop my coordination, which is a little lacking in ways, and while helping complement my efforts to keep somewhat in shape.

So all around, very interesting peice!

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I absolutely, totally, thoroughly, and wholeheartedly agree! For people still in school, many colleges have ballroom dance teams (like the one I'm on) that are great for meeting and getting to know people. There's also the competitive aspect to dance as well, competing is a lot of fun and a great way to encourage yourself to become a better dancer.

Dan, your article is well written and convincing - if I wasn't already a dancer, I'd go try it this weekend. One criticism: "This effects the way you walk and communicate non-verbally"(p. 5) -> "effects" should be "affects".

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  • 3 months later...

I love dancing to old music from the 20s and 30s...just alone in my apartment, I can do the Charleston and Black Bottom until I knock myself out! It's a wonderful way to relieve stress and tension, and really feel glad you're alive.

Two of my favorite online resources are redhotjazz.com and dismuke.org. Crank up the Realplayer, grab an online dance tutorial, and throw yourself a party--why not? :dough: If you're in New York and enjoy swing dancing, PM me and I'll give you the address of a great dance studio that hosts "practice dances" on Wednesday night. Too fun!!

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I love dancing. Not in public mind you. I have a very... unique style of dancing, I should say. But one of my great joys is putting on 'Shootenanny' and dancing in my room. :dough:

But yeah, I've seen pictures from parties, where you can see me in the corner of the picture, dancing - I look like a prat. This is why I usually make sure to follow the Security Guard style of dancing - at least no one's gonna fuck with me. :lol:

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Eudaemonist,

My fiancee Kelly is an excellent swing dancer, and I'm coming along. I know of at least one other Objectivist couple in the NYC area who wants to get together for Swing dancing. Maybe we could get a group together for a night out? Please do PM me the location of the Wed night free dance. Thanks!

--Dan Edge

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Eudaemonist,

My fiancee Kelly is an excellent swing dancer, and I'm coming along. I know of at least one other Objectivist couple in the NYC area who wants to get together for Swing dancing. Maybe we could get a group together for a night out? Please do PM me the location of the Wed night free dance. Thanks!

--Dan Edge

Will do! :D

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