What is the essence of dancing? I will not even bother to ask what is the essence of sex, because I might as well set off in search for the Holy Grail or ask what is the meaning of life. I am fascinated lately by the intersection, overlap, of the two though. Last night as careful readers of this blog will recall your most faithful servant had the time of his life dancing, with 15-20 women he had never met before at a latin dance club. Suppose for the sake of our long deep thought experiment, I instead had an evening with just one person (and the gender doesn’t matter) and there was some romping in bed. One crucial difference I think is that dancing is fun, play, re-creation, an act of creating anew again whereas between the sheets there is performance anxiety. There is! The mind is in overdrive on this subject: Am I happy, am I satisfying the other person and on and on and on. Exhaustingly so.
Personally I think sex should be a lot more like dancing. Spontaneous, improv, free flowing, now this, now that. Instead of the programmatic, linear, the sexual syllogism,
IF p then q that Ludwig Wittgenstein might love. How fatiguing just conjuring it up! Unless you overdosed on viagara your lovemaking won’t last 5 plus hours a la my dance outing yesterday. The only enjoyable lengthy sex I have ever had was necking on a sofa with a woman when we were both 20, in love and were extremely happy to do just that listening to music on those old fashioned turntables where you had to get up and chance the lp record because the needle got stuck. We did not care! There was such an innocence, charm, naivete almost to it. That kind of spirit animated me last night on the dance floor, doing the salsa, merengue, bachata, rhumba for hours and hours.
Dancing pretty much requires the community, the commonweal, the common good whereas sex is a very private matter, unless of course you live in a fascist area of the world where religious zealots wan to impose their sense of morality onto your union in bed. I do not think anyone feels dirty, ashamed, guilty for dancing where sex breeds a quadrillion psychological neuroses. Saw the film “Philomena” tonight and the same kind of insane fanatical religious impulses at work in fearful nuns a half century ago are what motivate other religious maniacs to condemn dancing.
The fear of intimacy strikes again!
From wiki on the advent of the Waltz in Vienna in the early 19 th c:
The dancers would lift their dresses and hold them high like cloaks and this would bring both their bodies under one cover.
This action also required the dancers’ bodies to be very close together and this closeness also attracted moral disparagement.
Wolf published a pamphlet against the dance entitled
“Proof that Waltzing is the Main Source of Weakness of the Body and Mind of our Generation” in 1797.
But even when faced with all this negativity, it became very popular in Vienna.
Plus ca change and all that…