Tonight SPACIOUS is hosting a dance event. We’re excited about it. We’re equally excited with you if you are NOT coming because your ideal night is reading a book alone at home or practicing mental math or working at your job which you love. Seriously. There’s nothing magical about dancing.
But then again, why NOT dance?
Emily Wax wrote another article featuring SPACIOUS in The Washington Post. We are grateful for her shout-out and proud of what we’re doing. What I can’t for the life of me figure out is why people need (choose? want?) to post snarky, negative comments on this article or any other article. Here’s what one person wrote: “And the nonesensical proliferation of dancing continues. Is it not bad enough that you can hardly find a TV commercial without dancing in it these days (even if the product has nothing to do with it)? Or that dancing down the aisle is still a thing at weddings? Here’s an idea, let’s have a national don’t dance for any reason day. That’d be much more original.”
When Emily wrote about our Adult Recess Day, there were legions of negative comments about our promoting fun, about Washington being the last place where anyone should be celebrating, etc. The comments were so ugly that we just stopped reading them. How do writers stand it, especially when a particular piece that’s accused of being fluff is simply one piece in an entirely weighty body of serious, good work?
I wonder: What is in our nature that makes us want to be and speak against things vs. for things? Why not dance or not dance, whatever you want?
What if dancing is a sheer act of the will for someone who feels like she is dying, or what if smiling and speaking kindly takes all the energy a suffering person has — but gives him a lift?
Is dance or any sort of “fun” always motivated by idiotic, mindless, out-of-touch-with-the-pain-of-the-world cluelessness? I’d say that it’s often the opposite. Those who are most familiar with suffering and most willing to stand with those who struggle, to come alongside the grieving, to accurately name the pain and ills of the world… well those are the folks who often best know how to dance, to celebrate, to cut loose. As a Christian, my belief in the resurrection is what makes death (all sorts of death, literal and metaphorical) tolerable vs. having it decimate me, send me to bed for a month.
This life is hard. People are dealing with really awful tragedies. Most of us are a bit wobbly inside if we’re honest. We’re going through our days hoping we are good enough for all that comes our way, good enough in the eyes of others, good enough to hear an occasional “well done.” We’re often holding our breath, waiting for the things we fear to transpire.
So if for a few minutes we can dance or throw pies or play games or do any number of harmless things, then why not? And if someone else wants to dance, just let ’em. Turn your back; go back to your book; walk away from the computer screen before you blast ’em.
Cause sometimes dance isn’t just dance; it’s a respite from life or a chance to connect or a breath of fresh air or a gateway to trying new things.