Often adults talk animatedly to me about their desire to dance, finishing with a crest-fallen look and “Oh, but I didn’t learn to dance as a child”. Occasionally, I’m not sure if this is an excuse for not dancing or a genuine regret that the potential joy of dance has passed them by. I suspect it’s the latter.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a community where dancing, singing and music-making was a normal, everyday activity. I danced at school, I sang and played my guitar on the school bus with a group of others, I danced at parties and I danced with my friends for fun in the lounge room. We were not doing any particular dance or steps, just moving to the music and enjoying it.
Fast-forward forty years, and what I see that dancing has become objectified: commodified in a way that makes it seem less accessible to people as an ordinary activity, and all about athleticism, show and performance.
The rise of TV dance shows may bring dancing into people’s homes but really not in way that makes people feel they can participate. There are dancers and there are audiences: never the twain shall meet.