Friday, September 23, 2005

The Age of Dance Rage

According to The Age newspaper, September 22nd 2005, up to fifty people were involved in a brawl between two dance teams in Wichita that were having an informal ‘dance off.’

The article says that ‘The Dynamic Steppers were practising routines on Saturday night when members of another dance "drill" team, the White Tigers, showed up and challenged them to a "dance-off", police said. When the challengers appeared to be losing, a woman hit a 17-year-old Dynamic Steppers drummer in the face with a drumstick.

The teen, a former member of the White Tigers, punched the 28-year-old woman in the face. He then got into his car and tried to run over spectators, witnesses told police. The boy's mother, a Dynamic Steppers coach, grabbed a box cutter and sliced the other woman's arm. The wound required eight stitches. The mother was charged Monday with aggravated battery, and the son faced assault charges.’

Police said more charges are possible as it was estimated that up to fifty other people were involved in the brawl.

Think about it: fifty people involved in a brawl over dancing..!!? A mother hitting a teenager in the face with a drumstick and a boy trying to run over spectators in a car with his mother helpfully joining in by deciding to slice up another person’s arm with a box cutter? Wow, and to think that all my parents did was clap politely at my under 17’s tennis final…..

It got my mind to thinking - yes, I'm sure you could smell the rubber burning from where you sit, reading this drivel - and asking the question: would I be the kind of person to be involved in an episode of dance rage?

Firstly, I am not a good dancer, in fact 'hopeless' is putting it rather optimistically. My sense of rhythm is there, but not my sense of groovy dance moves or the ability to shake my booty in any way other than to draw gasps of laughter and disbelief from onlookers. As such, I'd like to think that my involvement in any form of dancing is likely to lead to a happier crowd atmosphere as opposed to violence. In fact my nervous "Step together left, step together right, look vacantly up at the lights and as though you're enjoying yourself" method is likely to encourage others to put down their drinks and their embarassment and join me on the dance floor, if only to look absolutely brilliant alongside me.

If encouraged, I might then do a rather crippled version of the twist or the swim, pretending all the time that it's meant to be ironic and retro when in actual fact it's the best I can do. In the eighties when aerobics ruled, I'd even throw in few grapevines and lunge sets in the hopes that it appeared as though I was setting the trend. Unfortunately today, in this world of Thai boxing and Yoga, I don't think that kicking my partner in the face or sticking my arse up in the Downward Dog position is likely to win me any admirers other than the blind drunk ones.

That is why, if there's to be any dancing to be done by me, it will be at home, blinds firmly pulled down and only with my daughter. She, at the innocent and trusting age of six, is not yet aware that my skills are firmly in the comic relief category and regards my Heel-toe-heel-toe-and-dosey-doe-your-partner as quite innovative and an appropriate match to Kylie's 'Can't get you out of my head.' Failing that, all I need to do is pick her up and spin her around - she squeals with delight and I end up falling over behind the couch. Even though I've smacked my forehead against the bookshelf, we're both happy.

My last resort is Milly the dog. She's quite partial to me lifting her on her hind legs and holding up her front paws as we totter uncertainly on the lounge room mat to anything by Green Day. At least, I think she's enjoying it; if only to be able to lick off the remnants of the custard tart pastry still smeared on my tracksuit pants.

Several years ago, when we were still in Melbourne and childless, Love Chunks joined my Dad on a camping trip in the Flinders Ranges. Tessie, our previous dog and I had the house to ourselves which meant that I could have a kitkat and a chunk of cake for tea and drag out the Abba CDs without any disparaging comments. One night, I was overtaken by a joyful mood and the dog and I danced around the living room floor - we owned it, baby - paying what I thought was a great tribute to Madonna: "Holi-daaaay....Celebr-aaaaate...." I briefly glanced up at the window to realise in my horror that I'd left the curtains open and passersby could see me, singing out loud and dancing with a blue heeler.

As I madly dashed to the window and pulled down the curtains, I could swear I heard the lady remark to her powerwalking companion: "Oh, isn't it lovely that her sheltered workshop salary allows her to live safely by herself....."

So dance rage is not likely to happen to me. If people laugh then fine, that's great. The world needs to be a more light-hearted place in these times of war, petrol prices, factory closures, African famine and the shame of not being invited to Lley Lley and Bec's wedding. In fact I feel a rockin' Flashdance solo coming on right now.....

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