As a result of this news article earlier I got talking on Twitter about dancing. While I can dance I really hate going to nightclubs because I never know what to do there. It's no big secret that I dislike nightclubs and my housemates at Uni literally dragged me to one the first time I went. I did choose to go at other times because I quite liked singing along to the music (this is me, it's what I do) but on the whole I don't like them because they're loud, crowded and full of smokers and drunk people. The floors are often sticky, there's never any toilet paper in the toilets and dance floors are full of drinks, handbags and people standing around. Some people say they like to go out to nightclubs to dance. Actually let me clarify that: 'dance'. No-one ever dances in a nightclub, not here at least. Either you get a variation of embarrassing dad dancing (if you don't know what this is I advise you to google it) or you get what most people do which is this: standing on the dance floor in a circle with your friends with handbags in the middle, moving a bit, drink in one hand and shouting at your friend (who is standing next to you) just so you can try and hear what you're saying to each other. If you're lucky you might get to witness some grinding or if you're really lucky you might be party to this grinding. Obviously I was being sarcastic then. I've been on both sides of this and I find it horrid to witness or be part of.
What has happened to real dancing? We keep seeing dancing being promoted by things like Strictly Come Dancing, of which the celebrities for the latest series have just been announced and the show will be starting in a few weeks time but there seem to be comparatively few places where one can actually do this. Ballroom and Latin are not something you can dance at a nightclub and if you were to try it you would probably be looked at funnily. In fact the only time I have actually enjoyed a dance in a nightclub was one night at the hotel nightclub in Cuba where I was dancing Salsa with one of the guys who worked there. The only problem with this is that most of the Brits there weren't impressed with the Cuban music you could actually Salsa to (mostly as they didn't know how to) and just wanted the sort you would find in Britain where people just stand around jigging a bit. In fact they called it, and I quote, 'real music' - they didn't actually want to dance. They weren't so bothered with people dancing but they didn't want to participate in the Salsa dancing themselves. What they wanted was to just stand around with a drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other and talk to the people they'd gone with. If you're going to do that though why not go to a pub?
So what has happened to real dancing? Over the years I've tried various different dances. At the tender age of 4 I was learning Maypole Dancing in school for the May Day Festival. I've also tried Folk Dance (often done at Ceilidhs and Barn Dances, if not called Folk Dances) which is primarily English but there are some American and Scottish ones that are specifically different and some Playford ones (Playfords are I think English Folk Dance but they are a particular type). I've also now done some Ballroom and Latin as well as a bit of Cuban Salsa and Merengue but when do I get to dance these? In Vienna there is a lovely new Ballroom Dance Club called 4Feet. In weekdays it is a dance school but at weekends it's open for anyone to go and dance. Primarily it's for people from my dance school, Stanek, but anyone is allowed to use it. It has a variety of music so you can try different dances, not too loud so you can talk to people and it has a bar so you can even have a few social drinks if you like. To my knowledge there is nothing like that here but then I live in a town so that's understandable but it does mean that I can't go and dance any of these dances anywhere here because the 'clubs' we have are normal nightclubs which I don't like.
Is it true then that the days of ladies in ballgowns are long gone and that the future of dance is jigging about on a dance floor not knowing what to do? I sincerely hope not. Dancing is great fun and you learn so much about yourself too. You learn to trust and respect yourself and other people as well as learning the steps and aside from that you just have a good time. I wouldn't say I'm the greatest dancer but I'm not the worst. I've learned several steps and I'm at Bronze standard but I enjoy what I do even if I get it wrong and try and merge Tango and Quickstep together (it doesn't work, trust me) I still have a laugh. It's not like you can even use the music choice as a point now because the variety of music you can dance to is amazing. You don't necessarily need old music to waltz to, you can use new modern tracks and the same goes for so many dances. There is so much music about that you don't need to search too hard to find something that will fit with various different dances.
I don't want to be one of these people that just sways from side to side in my first dance at my wedding, I want to actually dance. I'm open to discussion on style and music but I want to dance, properly. In Austria people take dance lessons before they attend weddings so even if they don't know much, they can dance a bit. On the whole they learn in school too but what do we learn here? We learn a little bit of various dances, some freestyle, a bit of Salsa, I forget what else, but it's only a bit of a taster and not enough to really say you can actually dance. I don't want to be someone who's misplaced in either country or time period because of this so lets not let dance become something only seen in period dramas or done by old people. Lets put our shoes on and get dancing. It's fun, it's good for you and you learn something new.