Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spiritual Discipline of Living Room Dance

I'm pretty sure our country would receive immeasurable peace, karma, and agape if only we danced in our living rooms more.

When I was a child, teen, and young adult I kept to a daily discipline of living room dance. My mother and I had a whole routine worked out to "Boogie Oogie Oogie" when it was first released. As a teen, I almost broke an end table trapsing about to General Public's "Save It For Later". In my first apartment, my two roommates and I used to pull up the carpet to groove down on "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" by Prince.

And then... something happened. I let my spiritual discipline slip. I became a once-a-weeker. Then I was lucky if I remembered quarterly. I think I've only danced twice in the past year. My rug has no dancing wear and tear. I'm ashamed.

I know not everyone is a dancer. I know not everyone feels music instead of hearing it. But I also know that yelling babies, grumpy old men, and fidgety children can all be won over through dance. That's a tough crowd so there must be something to it.

Contrary to pop TV and middle school rules - dance isn't solely about performance. Dance is about experiencing a moment with your body in the moment. That's all. Dancing with another person is the same idea but with twice as many toes involved.

Last night my daughter and I were alone for a little while and she successfully used the potty. I felt a celebration was in order. We pas-ed our deux around the living room to the seventies classic "Brandy(you're a fine girl)". Twice. She was pants free. She giggled, sighed, gasped in joy, and eventually sang out, "Bwandeeeee!!!" I worked up a sweat, laughed, sang until I couldn't breathe, and spun her until we were both dizzy.

It was transcendent.

The spiritual discipline of living room dance demands some comfort with the ridiculous, a willingness to get busted, and a favorite song. That's it. You don't need special shoes, or lessons, or holy supplies. Hi-fi, tunes, and a will to move are the tools for a brief tango into a spiritual retreat. As with much in the spiritual world, a companion is good but not required.

In case my word is not enough, head on over to Google Images. Type in "dance living room". Not only is it a valid spiritual discipline, there's photographic evidence across this great land. It's Saturday night y'all - long known to be the boogie sabbath. So as the prophetess says,

If you're thinking you're too good to boogie,
Boy oh boy, have I got news for you.
Every body here tonight must boogie.
Listen to the music and let your body groove.
So get on up on the floor,
For we're gonna' boogie oogie oogie
Til we just can't boogie no more.


Lizard Eater said...

Okay. That's it. We're one person. (I even wrote a song about dancing in the living room.)

Anonymous said...

As Nietzche said in "Thus Spake Zarathustra"...Never trust someone who can't dance! Besides relearning how to cast a fishing pole, one of my goals to repair my brain was to worked!
So besides the Spiritual yummy cookies of dance there is the bran is healthy!

Elizabeth J. Barrett said...

I love to Living Room Dance! Yes, indeed, it feels great. Our bodies naturally move to music, but many people thwart that movement by forcing themselves to be still. I don't believe in that. ;-)

Ursula K. LeGuin said "Dancing is people being music."

VideoRose said...

for my living room dancing, i reccomend justin timberlake, nina simone, amy winehouse. be sure to flaunt it for the non-dancing boyfriend, as further test that despite your insane early afternoon (all day) antics, you really are in it together.

UUBri said...

I couldn't agree with you more! I used to do the same thing in college...but then after a few years out of school, I slowly stopped doing it.

Then, when I returned to grad school, I took a dance class for fun...and rediscovered the joy of movement. Ever since then...I have been dancing in my living room just, well, because I like it!

I've been using none of the fancy moves that I learned in "Intro to Modern Dance" fact, I'm not sure that I even remember most of them. I just move to the music. I call it "spirit dancing," and it helps me to reconnect to my body, reconnect with myself, and restore harmony in my life.

Then, I take that back out into the world with me.

Alas, my husband does catch me every now and then...but, I think it's worth the risk. :)

Every 7th Day said...

I loved these comments. Sorry that no one sent video!