One of my favorite television shows is Seinfeld. In one of the episodes Jerry is talking to his girlfriend of the week, and the conversation goes something like this:
GotW: Do you like dancing, Jerry?
Jerry: Not really.
GotW: Why not?
Jerry: Because dancing is so stupid.
Jerry pretty well sums up my feelings about dancing. I don’t like dancing at all, even to my favorite music (live concert tomorrow!), unless you count perceptible head bobbing and occasional air drums.
Much of my experience with dancing has come from stake youth dances. Perhaps it was something about how these dances were conducted that contributed to my negative feelings toward dancing.
The last time I danced was at a stake dance a few years ago. It was a combined youth and adult dance. I did not want to go in the least, but with some pressure and coaxing from my wife and a few friends I reluctantly went. After dragging my feet for a while I eventually got pulled onto the floor. My wife and friends started laughing at me. I must have looked pretty dumb. My wife started giving me advice. Maybe move your arms more, act more natural, have fun with it, and on and on. The laughing and mocking continued. They knew I was uncomfortable, and they were enjoying every minute of it. I started getting embarrassed and angry. It wouldn’t stop. A few more words of advice came from my wife. I stepped real close to her, brushed the hair away from the side of her face, moved my lips close to her ear, and firmly whispered, ‘leave me alone, or I am walking away, understand?’
The look in her eyes was a cold fire. She understood. We endured to rest of the song, and have not danced since. It was not a high point in our marriage.
About that same time our stake got a visit from a Brother Oliphant who was a long time dance instructor at Ricks College. He came to give stake youth leaders advice about youth dances. He said that he had interviewed thousands of people about stake youth dances and had received common complaints over and over again. The three main complaints were:
It’s too dark.
It’s too loud.
There is too much ‘romance’ associated with dancing.
These probably would have been my complaints also. Brother Oliphant suggested that we try changing the above things, and promised that we would be amazed by the results. He recommended turning on all the lights for youth dances, and turning the volume down several notches. I imagine that doing these two things alone would greatly change the atmosphere of many youth dances. You might actually be able to comfortable talk to someone, and see who you are talking to. He also recommended teaching several choreographed group dances – probably along the lines of line dancing.
What do you think of Brother Oliphant’s advice? I think he is on the money.
Are there other things that might be done to help more of the youth, and perhaps particularly the young men, enjoy dancing in an appropriate way?
Do you like to dance, or is dancing stupid?