Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2015/ Dancing in Public

Dancing in Public

After finishing a semi-voluntary shift at the Fair Vote Canada booth at Tri-Pride this weekend, I decided to stick around. It was a nice day and I did not particularly want to be inside (sorry, employment). The music on the main stage was much too loud for me, so I escaped to the balcony of City Hall. I had a pretty good view of the festivities there, and was able to see both the performers (the Stiletto Flats, I think) and the audience. The music was still too loud, but it sounded sufficiently good that I could feel my body swaying to the music.

Below me a handful of people dancing in front of the stage. One fellow was enthusiastically semi-dancing in his chair until another dancer convinced him to get up and dance on his feet.

Unexpectedly, seeing the dancers dance made me happy. I do not know whether they were dancing well or poorly, but they were expressing their appreciation for the music. I imagine the performers also appreciated people dancing to their music.

Not everybody was dancing, of course. There was one couple (which I presume was a woman and her boyfriend) which was a study in contrasts. The woman was clearly enjoying herself and dancing to the music. Her boyfriend was standing stock still. He wasn't even bobbing his head to the rhythm. Maybe he did not like the music. Maybe he had good reasons for not dancing. Or maybe he felt the way I tend to feel in the presence of danceable music: self-conscious about looking like an idiot in public. The odd thing was that I found myself judging the boyfriend more harshly than any of the people who were dancing. Instead of looking cool, standing stock-still next to his boogieing girlfriend made him seem a little foolish.

There's a lesson in there somewhere, but I do not want to acknowledge it. I am not good at dancing and I do not particularly want to be. I dislike social pressures, and resent doing things just to fit in with the crowd. But sometimes music affects me to the point where I want to move my body, but I am incredibly self-conscious about doing so, because I am afraid of being judged (as if I am not judged all the time for looking and acting like a freak in so many other ways). I am no Puritan. I do not consider dancing -- especially solo dancing that refrains from bodily contact -- to be immoral, and I do not consider dancing any more depraved than other forms of entertainment I consume regularly. But there is something about dancing in public that makes me freeze up, and it is kind of ridiculous. In watching the dancers on the balcony, I realized that dancing in public can elicit appreciation, not just negative judgement.

This is not some public declaration that I will dance in public whenever the opportunity presents itself (sorry, certain party organizers who shall not be named). But it would be nice to let my self-consciousness go, so that when I encounter music that makes me want to move my body I can give myself permission to do so.

Wouldn't that be nice? Too bad I was too much of a coward to dance when I was on that balcony. It isn't even as if anybody had been looking up there.