Sunday, 19 October 2008

On Dance Clubs

I went to a dance club the other night.

I refrain from using the phrase 'I went clubbing the other night' because that gives connotations of getting inebriated and trying to entice unfamiliar and well-endowed girls to come home with me. Neither happened--that's to say that I did not drink and did not try to seduce anyone--and so I will stick with 'went to a dance club,' which is much more accurate and is freer of these connotations.

I went with a number of friends, and we were largely very innocent about the whole thing. Only a few of us dance on a regular basis. As a rule I do not, but at a housemate's recent birthday party I could either be in the dancing-room (ie. our living room converted into a dance floor) or the drinking-room (ie. our kitchen), and that choice was clear. I find little more boring than sitting around, getting drunk. I couldn't conscienciously be in the dancing room without making some attempt at actually dancing, so through the course of the evening I learned, albiet not very well. So I had a little experience under my belt--little being operative--and therefore had thought that maybe clubbing would not be so bad.

It's funny, how lamentable people are at dancing. Drunk girls cannot dance. They think they can, but they can't. Guys, as a rule, can't either, unless it's lewd, and that doesn't count. And no one is paying any attention to anyone else anyway. And you have to start dancing before you can discover that it is (almost) true when they say that you simply 'move to the beat'; it has nothing to do with pre-established choreography or spectacular feats, but near-random re-combination of a large but finite number of simple movements. Girls do this much better than guys, because they are allowed to move in certain ways that guys are not.

The interesting thing about learning to dance is that people are such bad teachers. Almost without exception people who can dance will tell people who can't dance, "Just move to the beat." There likely is a piece of advice somewhere in the world that is more utterly useless than this, but I have never encountered it. And that is the entirety of most people's choreographical education. No wonder people who cannot dance hate the idea of trying! They have absolutely nothing to go on. What instead works--at the afore-mentioned birthday party I had the luck of such an opportunity--is if someone will dance very simply, with a little, repetitious foot-work and something accompanied with the arms. You replicate this. Then the person does something a little more complicated. You replicate this. Then people around you do several different things that work on the same beat, and you can get a sense of the various possibilities available to you--this footwork, this arm movement, etc. You can mix and match elements. And then you can 'just move to the beat,' because you know some underlying elements of the movement. After this, you can begin to add to your arsenal things that you've seen other people do and things that you've made up, but are not radically dissimilar from existing elements. Experimentation is then a possibility, though I'd caution only experimenting slowly and at a small scale. Otherwise you're in danger of looking like a fool. Some people are fine with embarassing themselves publicly, but most people who do not know how to dance are not.

On another note, I found it quite interesting to try to match movement to music; this is more than just tempo, but also other elements of composition that I do not have the vocabulary to describe.

I must go and work now, but I felt like writing this.

Oh, and another note...

It's funny how the most ravishing black dress that so effectively flatters a girl will render her unremarkable at a club because of the fact that every other girl is wearing a low-cut, short-skirted black dress. Those who wear something more colourful--even if less flattering individually--are more noticeable in that context.

1 comment:

Jon Wong said...

I'm amazed you picked up on all this from your one visit to Alfies. Imagine if the music that night had been better!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin