Lead the lady through the quadrille ; do not drag her, nor clasp her hand as if it were made of wood, lest she, not unjustly, think you a bear.
You will not, if you are wise, stand up in a quadrille without knowing something of the figure ; and if you are master of a few of the steps, so much the better. But dance quietly ; do not kick and caper about, nor sway your body to and fro; dance only from the hips downwards; and lead the lady as lightly as you would tread a measure with a spirit of gossamer – Martine’s Handbook to Etiquette and Guide to True Politeness, Arthur Martine, Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers, 1866.
It’s been heartening to see a few comments come through about dancing. Most of us love to dance yet most of us hesitate because we think we are not good enough. I have never danced with a spirit of gossamer, but as a teen and twenty something I loved to dance. I still do, although now I get to do it far less often.
I recently saw a documentary about a dance troupe called the Hip Op-eration Crew. Billed as the word’s oldest hip hop dance group, these spirited men and women are dancing up a storm. The members of the crew aged between 67 and 95 all live on Waiheke Island, near New Zealand and hip hop together. Whilst the majority of the 25 members are women, there are also a few males brave enough to take to the dance floor. 11 members are in their 80s and 90s, with the average age being 78.
Recently the Crew performed at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas and stole more than a few hearts amongst the hip and famous. Here’s a glimpse of their performance at the Worlds (photo from the Group’s Facebook page).
The Crew’s main message is about fighting ageism and promoting respect with youth. They seem to be doing a fantastic job having been picked up by main stream media around the world. The documentary I saw was a two part special on ageing disgracefully and also featured a 79 years young Florence Henderson embracing life beyond Mrs Brady. The story begins with a shot of two senior citizens sipping tea with a comment to the effect that this is what is expected of our elderly. It then unexpectedly morphs with a delightful cascade of colour into a blaze of imperfection.
I am all for fighting ageism and growing old disgracefully. But more importantly, for the purpose of this post, let’s focus on the dance. The dance steps are not perfect. Neither is the co-ordination. None of it seems to matter, for if the Crew had waited for perfection they never would have made it to Vegas.
And this is the point. What opportunities do we deny ourselves by our strive for perfection? Could it even be a spot on the world championship stage?
There are no world championships for perfectionism. And if there were, the chances of earning a perfect score are pretty slim.
And speaking of dancing, I am off to a highland festival tomorrow. My first ever. There will be dancing, there will be kilts, there will be extreme imperfection.
14 thoughts on “The D of Living Imperfectly: Dancing and Daring #atozchallenge”
“Extreme imperfection” I love that! Great blog post, really inspiring 😉 Gonna get me some dancing shoes….lol
I hope we get some video of you dancing the highland fling lovely. How we all love to dance and as we get older we seem to be afraid of letting our inhibitions go. I was encouraged from my dance post and the other day heard the music in a store and danced a little down the aisle …felt good ..looked stupid..didn’t care 🙂 x
Sometimes, I dance a Viennese waltz alone in my living room; can you blame me? I have grown up with Johann Strauss and his musical cohorts. Great uplifting blog. Must mark it so I can join in your quadrille.
“Dance me to the end of love….” Leonard Cohen
This is one of my favorite songs – i have it on a Madelaine Peyroux CD and play it often!
There you are!!! I had to search for this comment…especially since it’s FRIED FRIDAY and I’m really done! Today is my last day on my job and I just can’t set my watch up fast enough to the end of the day. Posted a watercolour entitled Dance Me…inspired by Mr. Cohen…he accompanies me on my early morning east/west side river walk. Thank you for your lovely comment…R.
Retiring? New job? New adventure? I so look forward to being a regular visitor; the artists I’ve met through the blogosphere make me feel like I’ve got my own art museum. It is incredibly invigorating!
Dancing is a perfect way to release your inner soul, shake out the cobwebs and express your personality. I love to dance, and hope you have a lot of fun at the festival.
MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Lots of Crochet Stitches
I am enjoying a line dancing class at the senior center, and am the youngest in the class. Most are in their 80’s and George is 90. I can tell that many of them are reliving memories of dances with loved ones, now deceased, and many obviouly were superb foxatrotters and cha-cha’ers in their day.
“do not kick and caper about … dance only from the hips downward” Too funny.
Some of my fondest memories with my beloved involve dancing. He was a dancing fool (love the quote) and a much better dancer than me. When we went to dances, the women lined up to talke turns dancing the waltz, the polka, country line, the twist. We had so much fun. Thanks for your D-post
Paula at /Smidgen,Snippets,&Bits
All power to the oldies. You’re right about striving for perfection. I was raised with an emphasis on competitiveness which effectively prevented me from enjoying dance and many other activities in life. Unfortunately I have found it very difficult to modify these behaviours which were instilled into me at a young age.
I hope you dance at the festival. Good or bad, just dance.
(John Laws….who I once admired until all the money-grubbery was revealed……used to play an inspirational song called “I hope you dance”……highly recommend it…..if my internet connection wasn’t so crap I’d looki it up and provide a link to the song.)
Love that quote there at the end! I do miss the days of dancing and not caring that I didn’t really know how.
Yes, we might as well dance. Loved that quote! 😀
I’d sure love to see that group perform. Maybe I should get some of my friends together…