I do not dance, as I have said here before. I sit/stand in corners with groups of people and make scintillating conversation (for I am a scintillating conversationalist) instead.
A friend just directed me to this post on Stephen Fry’s blog for this gem:

I hate dancing more than I can possibly explain. I hate doing it myself, which I can’t anyway, but I loathe and resent the necessity to try. I hate watching other people do it. I hate the way it breaks up conversation. I hate the slovenly mixture of sexual exhibitionism, strutting contempt and repellent narcissism that it involves. I hate it when it is formless, meaningless bopping and I hate it (if anything even more) when it is formal and choreographed into genres like ballroom or schooled disco. Those cavortings are so embarrassing and dreadful as to force my hand to my mouth.
If I listen to music, I like either to do it completely alone, so that if I am taken by the desire to move my feet and body (which is inevitable with so much music) I can do it unwitnessed, or I like to LISTEN to it, to hear the line of it, to follow the lyrics and to allow it work inside me. I do not want to use it as an exercise track for a farcical, meaningless, disgusting, brainless physical public exhibition of windmilling, gyrating and thrashing in a hot, loud room or hall. I do not want to use music as the medium for a mating or courting ritual. No one would ever select me as a sexual partner on the basis of my ability to froth, frolic and gibber in time to music anyway, and nor would I ever choose a partner by such desperate and useless criteria.
I can’t dance. It may well be true that guilty feet have no rhythm, but it is also true that perfectly innocent feet can also be unable to move persuasively or happily to the beat. I can’t dance and I SO do not want to. Or is it that I don’t want to because I can’t? No, I don’t think so. I can’t play football, golf, cricket to anything like a human standard and I want to desperately. Desperately. It really isn’t a question of being truculent and captious about it. I really, really, really hate dancing and have not the slightest milligram of envy for those who can do it. If there is such a thing as ‘being able to do’ the kind of dancing people routinely engage in. Not so much an accomplishment as an affliction.
The unhappy self-consciousness of the adolescent on the dance floor at school, or in the village barn dance or local disco is too well known a standard hero of rueful dissection for me to need to describe myself in that guise in too much detail. Here were boys and girls my age twisting, spinning and jumping at each other and they all seemed to know what they were doing. Had I been confined to the sick room with an asthma attack the day disco dancing was covered in the syllabus? How did they know which way to move,when to fling up a hand, when to spin, when to jump? When to look into their “partner’s” eyes, when to look at the floor? There was nothing written down, did it accord to some chord change or eight bar measure that I, in my hot discomfort and pop illiteracy simply could not hear?

I do love that man.

15 Comments to “Dancing”

  1. Hey dancing is great stress buster.I know its quite embarrasing when a person doesnt know how to dance and is in a party where all others are good dancers.

  2. Oh good, I’ll send Fry’s post to all my dancing buddies and hope it makes them squirm (which it won’t, but it’s worth the try). Also, a question for Vanessa: does dancing cause acute asthma? And if so, does that constitute proof that there is a God?

  3. Have you seen him imitate Michael Jackson on A Bit of Fry and Laurie? You MUST.

    And yes, I also feel great marshmallow mountains of affection for the man. He wears grey suits inner-lined with yellow silk and reads Wodehouse; how could I possibly not?


  4. well i luv dancin.. esp freestyle dancing.. i mean if i’m into it, i’m totally into it.. otherwise, i just can’t move a muscle. when i was a kid i went for a lot of these classes n all, did a lotta choerographed dancing.. wanna get back to that now though.. with kathak n all…
    the only one thing that i don’t like about dancing, is watching videos of myself dancing (with no sense of whatever else’s happening) like at my sis’s wedding n all..it just feels too embarrassing then..and everybody else seeing u dance n all, with masti..watching others is fine.. but other ppl watching u dance (freestyle) is not so fine..dunno y.

  5. My comments on dancing ran a little long (and had enough links to probably catch it in spambot nets), so I just made it a post on my blog here:

    Dance Dance Meri Jaan!

    As for Stephen Fry, I must say that while taken in small doses A Little Bit of Fry and Laurie is hilarious, watching a whole episode is surprisingly disappointing. Perhaps it’s because I’d just run through the entire series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus; all sketch shows kinda fall flat in comparison.

    I will forever love Stephen Fry for things like Absolute Power and, of course, Q.I. — the only TV show I hope goes on until I’m 90.

  6. I LOVE to dance, love it, love it, love it, but its not something I think about as consciously as Mr. Fry. Its just that when the music is a certain beat, a certain rhythm, you get up automatically and dance. There is no choice, no “should I, shouldn’t I”, there’s just your feet leading you to stand up and dance. Conversation then seems a bit silly even if you do it in time to the music..

    Dancing is like sex: no thinking, no talking, just you moving instinctively to a compulsive beat.


  7. What an uptight person. Somebody desperately needs a toke.

  8. I sort-of dance. If it’s nice and sunny (but not too sunny) and I am not in danger of being shat on by birds, for example.

    I know that if almost anybody else wrote a Rant Against Dancing the first thing I would want to thwap them for being an uptight sphincter of resentment. But it is Fry, and I love the Fry, and I therefore say merely, ‘Aww.’

  9. I also hate dancing!!!I don’t know why but I find dancing eqivalent to some kind of stupididty!!!but yes to be honest I sometime regret being a non-dancer!!!!!your post is really too consoling for poeple like me:)

  10. Ugh. Dancing.
    Say what is the point to it?
    Apparently it’s a stressbuster. Pshaw. Valium is better any day.

  11. Fry is funny only in small doses. When, admittedly, he is VERY funny.

    Not only is this a poorly written piece by his standards, it also takes a long time to say what GBS said so succinctly – “Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal intention”.

    Not that GBS knew anything about cutting loose.


  12. dancing comes naturally to me. It’s good music if you start swaying unconsciously.
    I suppose people like Fry and Co exist and they are perfectly justified in feeling what they do, doesn’t make the art any less in any way. :)

    I liked n’s line “Dancing is like sex: no thinking, no talking, just you moving instinctively to a compulsive beat. ” – quite true. hmm.. er, okay, theer are exceptions to all rukles etc? ;–)

  13. *fat finger alert* – The last line ought read
    ” hmm.. er, okay, THERE are exceptions to all RULES etc? ;–)”

  14. Hmm that Fry post was no doubt a gem…
    That why it’s probably a fashion that people Love to Hate some good things, from their heart.

    I’ve made some observations to the Fry’s rants, in my latest post.
    But yeah I don’t like to hate things I won’t/would never understand…

    +Keep The Faith.

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