How You Dance and What It Says About…You.

tango-festival_682498cI have to give credit where credit is due.  Last week I was given a challenge in the comments section of the Music article.  The reader wanted to know if scientists have done any studies correlating dancing prowess with, well…another kind of prowess, prowess in the sack.  My ears pricked-up at the concept.  As it turns out, the answer is a resounding YES!!!  I’m going to really try to keep this an article of general interest, though I can feel it in my bones that it will be a difficult article for me to write about objectively.  First off, I truly LOVE to dance.  Decorum dictates that you draw your own correlation to this.  Yet, what we’d actually like to know is: will my becoming a better dancer make me a better lover as well?  Read on Macduff.  This is gonna be fun, though not so much for the feint of heart nor the Puritanical.

learning to danceAs a brief background, my mom and dad were superb dancers, and those who know my background know I don’t dwell on my praise of my father.  At an extremely young age (before second grade) I had a crush on a girl whose name rhymes with Neva Kelly.  No, wait a minute…  That actually was her name.  I asked my mom how to dance so that I could ask her to do so.  I learned the most rudimentary step on planet…the box step.  I wasn’t particularly good at it…too restrictive and even back then, I began embellishing.  No one noticed, but Neva didn’t seem to mind.  At age six or seven I was already hooked on Neva and on dancing.

swing dancersDANCE!  By the time high school rolled around I had been practicing quite a bit.  Before every Friday night dance, I’d put on, (care to guess?)  DANCE, DANCE, DANCE, by the Beach Boys.  I’ll never forget the first line:  “After six hours of school, I’ve had enough of the day.  I put the radio on and turn it up all the way.  I wanna DANCE!!!”  I got to be pretty good.  At every high school dance I’ve ever attended, the girls would line up on one side of the floor, the guys on the other.  The music would start…and we’d all stand there like idiots, staring at each other.  No one wanted to be the first idiot to make a fool of himself.  Well…there was one idiot. I’d go over and whisper, “Do you want to be a leader or a follower?” Most times it worked.

As it turns out, through vigorous scientific study, dancing is Darwinian.  It’s not just humans but many species who, first off, have to show that they have the guts to get out there.  Then, they have to show some coordination, smoothness, sensitivity, and most of all ENTHUSIASM!  In dancing as well as sex, enthusiasm will take you a very long way.

couple-dancingOver the Hill?  Guess again.  Many of you may sigh right about now and say, “Yeah, that’s all well and good, but I’m not 16 years old anymore, I’m (fill in some horrendous number here).  Plus…I’m already married.  I don’t have to bother with that crap anymore.  Guess again

Dancing has absolutely everything going for it and no bad side effects.  If you are still drawing a breath and are even somewhat ambulatory, you can dance.  Dancing is the discreet vertical version of making love.  You can choose your poison, what song that puts you and your mate in the mood and then begin, just by holding each other tightly, swaying a bit and pressing your little (or big) body against your mate’s.  If you have a reluctant mate (we all tend to get more self-conscious) two things help.  Ply him or her with their favorite drink and then put on their ultra-favorite song. It’s so basic, but…it works and guess what dancing is a prelude to.  A good friend sent an ethnic joke last week.  The punchline was, “Sex is frowned on because…it could lead to dancing.”  There’s something to that.

As a Sidebar, there are only two things that I would worry about if Pamela and I went out with another couple.  First: if the other guy could make Pamela laugh like hell…a LOT, and second, if on the dance floor, he was smooooooth and suave.  Oh, there’s a third, too.  If he looks like Hugh Jackman, or Tim Olyphant, he’ll never make it to the dance floor with Pamela.  He just won’t.

PAMELA-FLYINGBallet Dancers:  It works the other way as well.  My first infatuation was with a ballerina with the Russian Kirov Ballet.  She danced the Sugar Plum Fairy and…wow.   Years later, when I met Pamela at a mixer, I quickly discovered that she was a Hungarian Ballerina…with Harkness Ballet no less.  Pitter-patter, pitter-patter.  I must have been sorta okay on the dance floor.  She didn’t keel over in laughter…still doesn’t even though we’ve been together for decades. Uhmmm… Pamela just strolled in and began peering over my shoulder as I’m writing this.  She said, (and I quote) “Dancing is a secret test that women sometimes give to men.  Many have failed a test they didn’t even know they were taking.”  Darwin would approve. FYI, yes, that’s Pamela flying above the stage.

dirty-dancingEnough already, Henry.  Are you going to give some valuable advice…or not?   If your hobby is ice fishing or golfing or tennis or…whatever, slice off about half that time for a month or so and go dancing.  Take a basic class or tango class, salsa, jitterbug…doesn’t really matter.  Practice, practice, get sweaty, be enthusiastic, and afterwards when you get home…and are still sweaty, do some horizontal dancing…smoothly and with enthusiasm.

 Be creative, turn your brain off and become ALL the animal you can be.  Unless you are married to a large block of ice, your results will be very rewarding.  Dancing leads to even more dancing and occasionally to horizontal dancing.  It’s good for you, your heart, your relationship, your self-image.  It’s ALL good.  Gaze out at a dance floor.  Look at the dancing and who is doing what.  It’s a superb gauge as to how a couple relates…or doesn’t.

tambourineA Secret Weapon that’s REALLY Fun!  On a whim, right after one of our little dance parties, we went on-line, and ordered…a tambourine!  It cost something like $14.95 and arrived three days later.  That night after dinner and a glass of wine, we cranked up Lady Marmalade, but it could have been the Stones, Led Zep and then….Oooooh baby!  It’s easy to do a passable job in about two minutes, but the fun is when you get about four degrees better than passable.  While you’re dancing you can pass it around and, it’s just a helluva lot of fun!  Hint:  Don’t try to hit every single beat in the song.  People will begin throwing things at you or prying it out of your hand.  It’s like a musical spice… Think of sprinkling a little cayenne.

One of the highlights of my life:  We were stationed at Yokota AFB, Japan.  I was a young captain and Pamela had just recovered from having our son, Cameron.  Went to the O’Club and Whole Lotta Lovin’, (Led Zep) came on at 12 million decibels.  We got out there in the epicenter of the dance floor.  Pam was twinkling her funny little twinkle.  Fourteen seconds later, we had cleared the floor.  Yeah, dancing and sex…they’ll take you pretty far.  Better than knocking around a little white ball with a stick or bouncing a big orange rubber ball.


 P.S.  Whoever you are and however old you are, if you have a cool shot or story of yourself dancing…send it in and I’ll post it.  And yeah, that’s an older shot of me…but…that’s how I feel when I’m dancing.

7 Responses to "How You Dance and What It Says About…You."

  1. Richard Rex says:

    Read your blog on dancing. What impressed me was the para 1 titillation of steamy things to come. But no, prurience totally absent, just nuanced allusions – nicely nuanced, though. If you’re going to promise “hot & steamy” you should endeavor to put your shoulder to it.

    None of my business, but I notice there’s an Aussie fella who appears to have you in his cross-hairs wrt minutiae. Just tell him go throw a few leathery steaks on the barbie, swig a few Fosters, and don’t be a prick. Remind him that to a Brit the word Aussie connotes a heritage of convicts and an abundance of rabbits.
    R. Rex

  2. Hello:
    Not sure how I feel about your relating dancing with…”horizontal dancing”, (your term). My first reaction was, ewwwwh. I’ve danced with a lot of people. But then… when I think of some of the men I’ve danced with, the concept is appealing. Next time someone asks me to dance, your article is going to pop into my mind. I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Lydia G.

  3. Elle Travis says:

    I, too, love to dance. In the seventies we would dress up every Friday night and go to a disco club. This was so much fun. It was upbeat, the music was pure psych up, and everyone did their own thing with their outfits. Suddenly, someone deemed that disco was dead.
    Music became whiny and sarcastic. Then, no one had anywhere to go to dance, and nothing to replace it. The end of an era replaced by a big zero.
    Let’s bring back DANCING and DISCO!
    Elle T.

  4. I rarely write in but…what the hell, I’m a people, too. Henry and I had been invited to the Prall’s Mill Art Show in New Jersey. When we walked in the atmosphere was morgue like and the music matched. We walked over to the band that was playing…Dr. Bombay and we knew the leader of the band sort of well. Henry shrugged a big question mark to “Dr. Bombay” and he rolled his eyes and came down to meet us. He said, “This is the crap they told us to play…so here we are.” Something like that.

    Henry asked, “Do you know any Stevie Ray Vaughn?” and Doctor Bombay began grinning. We offered to slip him a bill for getting into trouble, but he wanted no part of it. He mumbled something to his band and five seconds later Pride and Joy came twanging and bellowing out into the room. It was like one of those hospital scenes where they put the electrodes on the dying guy’s heart. The entire room woke up and began dancing their little feet off. These are the sort of things you remember.

  5. Mary Lou says:

    Enjoyed this blog! Absolutely lovely!!
    You always manage to infuse your readers with levity and humor!
    (A goal, I suspect, of your musings…)

    I am getting to ‘know’ you ….your philosophy, your appreciation of your marriage, …your inner self.
    We all need this therapy these days…….
    But,.. I was just wondering;
    Are you inclined to ‘step out’ into the current events arena?

    Someone’s take on the Ukraine situation?
    How does a plane just ‘disappear’ these days?
    Where are our kids headed in this techno-world?

    As a philosopher, of sorts, I’m sure you have thoughts to share on such topics.
    I don’t see it as alienating readers, but rather engaging them in critical thinking.
    Not too many writers are capable of that; you are.
    Just a thought…
    Mary Lou

    • Henry Harvey says:

      (Editor’s note: Due to the nuance and detail required to answer this reader’s questions, this comment was answered at greater length in a separate e-mail.)

      Hi, Mary Lou. As you know so well, everyone on the planet is an instant expert on the topic du jour, depending on what article or story he or she wants to paraphrase.

      In politics, for 99.999% of the American people, we come upon a political story with our minds already made up. We choose the stories that agree with our politic…and flush the ones that don’t. Candidly, I’m not qualified to add anything new or of merit regarding what is happening at any given microsecond in the USSR, Israel, Afghanistan, etc.. As such, I attempt to stick to subjects I have some experience with.

      Regarding the plane that’s missing, it boils down to three probabilities (answered separately). Regarding where the generations are heading…I do have some thoughts, some of which are in the archives section. Very soon, there will be a blog entitled: “Entitlement”. Thanks for your thoughtful questions!

  6. I think the four of us need to head to Buenos Aires, take a few lessons and spend a week dancing in the clubs!
    Rich B.

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