The empty, yet-to-be-trodden dance floor. That rare and sticky-carpeted field of dreams. The privilege was mine this weekend, my friends. I discovered an empty dance floor MERE MOMENTS before it was ripe for stompin’.
Allow me to set the scene: Some workmates and I had dodged a bullet by being refused entry to one of Sydney’s cheesiest nightspots, due to my office manager’s inability to walk in heels even when stone-cold sober.
On the verge of giving up on our quest for a last-resort watering hole, the Pointer Sisters called to us through a bouncer-flanked doorway. Jump for my love. Even the post-eighties members of our posse were drawing fond parellels between the catchy chorus, and Hugh Grant busting a move under the watchful eye of a gilt-framed Margaret Thatcher in Love Actually.
The bar was like a polished-off glass of shiraz, populated around the edges by bitter sediment, empty in the middle.
Naturally my reaction was: ‘Oh good! A dance floor.’ This was met with the all too common and bashful cry of: ‘That’s not a dancefloor; There’s no one on it.’
Incorrect, dear friends. Incorrect. An empty dancefloor (otherwise known as a ‘hopportunity’), is crying out for your boot scootin’ and hot-shoe shufflin’.
Get. Down. On it.
No sooner had I defied the empty dance floor by kicking up my heels to the Jackson Five, than two spectacular strangers joined me with some groovy manoeuvres (we’ve all experienced this friendly phenomenon – I like to call such comrades ‘dancefloor besties’; having survived your entire adult life without encountering these people, twenty-five minutes apart from them on the dance floor breeds an irrepressible urge to ‘catch up’, to squeal and twirl at one another, mouthing the words to well known songs from idiotic smiley faces).
Thirty minutes of pure gold later (Nine-to-Five, Come on Eileen, Sweet Dreams, Baby got Back) – the dancefloor was a veritable tin of restless and wriggly sardines, bursting at its smoky seams.
Feeling a peculiar kind of dance-induced catharsis later that night, I got to thinking about exactly what we had achieved. We had defeated the ‘Anti-Dance’. That evil force which leads us to believe that our limited motor skills and awareness of rhythm, are anything less than ripe for public consumption.
I have learned to conquer this beast in other areas of my life: On the rare and non-dance-related occasion that I exercise, I trick my conscious self into believing that I am doing nothing more than donning a pair of runners and exiting my home in a zombie like state, at an early hour of the morning. Once I’ve reached the footpath, my feet take over and ALAKAZAM, I’m mid-workout.
If I was to wake up with the fully conscious intention of “going for a run”, I can guarantee that my logical and bed-loving self would ensure that this masochistic ritual occurred even less frequently than it does today.
A similar approach is required for the conquering of the Anti-Dance and the take-over of its pathetic constituent: the empty dance floor. Do not be put off by the seemingly insurmountable, cardiovascular nature of this mammoth task. Stare humiliation in its cowardly face. Merely find yourself doing one of a vast number of perfunctory dance moves (Kevin Bacon’s: ‘Running Man’, the ‘Tassie-Two-Step’). Perform them with vigour and enthusiasm, and you will be king of the dance floor. If you build it they will come.
The Go-Pants-Pro-Dance (GPPD) arch nemesis of the Anti-Dance, is that benevolent force that encourages you to get jiggy with it. No matter how preliminary your refinement of a new move, the GPPD invites you to stage it in any private or public forum. Not only that, the GPPD will receive said move with applause and adoration. Not only that, GPPD is an invisible rent-a-crowd, silently equating your dance-floor prowess with the likes of JT and Gene Kelly. Self consciousness and humiliation cannot touch you while the GPPD is on your side.
‘We can dance! We can dance!’ sounds the victory cry of those very wise men without hats. I encourage you now to heed that cry, and take the dance floors of Australia by storm! There is no such thing as bad dancing.
Pump up the jam. Your disco needs you.
Join us this and every Tuesday for a dance in the dark.