Midhun Antony claims anybody can dance. I have always thought of myself as living proof that even if every single other living creature on the planet can do it, there’s still One Who Can’t. It’s not a point of pride with me; just what I think of as an uninspiring factoid.
But he’s right. It’s unfair, despite my belief I’m being honest in claiming to be a fairly awful dancer, to say that I can’t. Even if my goal is to impress anyone, rather than merely to enjoy the activity for itself, or to express joy—surely among the highest and best reasons to dance, really—can I truthfully claim that a bad dancer is no dancer? How many times have I enjoyed, along with my much-better-dancing friends, the vision of an uninhibited exhibition of movement-to-music by a truly unskilled practitioner? The littlest of children, even those not yet able to stand without support, dance and fearlessly. That is the point! It’s not about skill and coordination or style points, or ballroom etiquette, the vast majority of the time; it’s about happiness and commitment.
A little bonus exercise is not to be sniffed at, either, I should be the first to confess.
If I’m truly so self-absorbed as to think that my dancing should be of any interest to anyone in the room but me or—given the right circumstances—any other person I am dancing to please, at the very least I should keep in mind that letting down my guard so others can have a good healthy laugh at my expense would be a tremendous gift. Some of the best moments ever recorded on film are not only those shared by the Nicholas Brothers or Rogers and Astaire, Alvin Ailey or Mikhail Baryshnikov or Judith Jamison, but also the high and low comedic gifts of attempted dance we also remember with intense fondness. Elaine Benes, I salute you! Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze, I curtsey in awe. I fall down while curtseying, of course, but I do admire your work. In fact, I’ll hazard a little wiggle of sheer glee right now, just because you all make me so happy.