Music and dance are intertwined. You certainly can dance without music – although it helps to have someone counting a beat. And you don’t have to dance to every song. But once you start dancing, it makes your relationship with music different. I know I’ve written about this before but I’m starting to wonder whether dancing really just changes the wiring in your head with respect to how you react to music.
I’ve been known to sing in the car – when I’m alone and nobody is watching. And I still will from time to time. It depends on the song. Put on Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey and I’m right there:
“Just a small town girl. Livin’ in a lonely world. She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere.”
Sorry, had to do that.
But, after dancing for all these years, my first reactions are :
- Where’s the beat?
- What can I dance to this?
Sometimes, it is easy. A waltz is no problem and instead of singing, I’ll be 1, 2, 3in’. But it is all about finding the beat and counting and seeing what dance fits. There are songs where I hear something a little different and wonder if I could pull something off. I never remember these songs though so whenever they ask me what my favorite Waltz is, I just give them the blank stare because I just haven’t categorized everything yet.
And there are the songs I’ve done routines to and these will never be the same. Hearing them just takes me right back to the stage getting ready to go on with all the nerves. Plus I can play along in my head to the moves that fit certain parts of the music. So Iris, Highway to Hell, Walk Like an Egyptian, Drunk on a Plane, Cheap Sunglasses and many others have forever been changed. I don’t even see the videos for these songs – I just see the routines I did.
In some ways, it feels almost Pavlovian. Music comes on and I start to count. I suppose it is better than the alternative because drooling every time a Waltz came on could be kind of embarrassing.
When I’m driving, it is more about finding the beat and trying to count along to it because there really isn’t anything else to do. The car is kind of a confined space and trying to Fox Trot while driving would not end well. But when I’m out walking and a song comes on, there is sometimes a very strong pull to want to break into dance. The other day I was walking through the mall and a West Coast Swing came on (see this is another minor way my brain has been rewired, I can’t tell you the name of the song but I know what you can dance to it). I really wanted to just grab someone and start dancing which I’m thinking wouldn’t have gone over that well.
Or maybe this is just some kind of post hypnotic suggestion that OwnerGuy plants in me whenever I get taken back to the little room to sign up for more. After all, I don’t remember much about those sessions except signing my name and running my credit card through something. Maybe he has powers I don’t know about.
All kidding aside (well maybe most kidding aside), it really is a strong feeling that makes me want to dance when I hear the right song. I never actually break into dance because I don’t want to draw that much attention to myself but it is really tempting at times. It is a little worse this time of year since there is Christmas Music everywhere and it seems like every other song is a Swing or a Fox Trot. Except Carol of the Bells which is a Viennese Waltz. Really have to fight that one because I could start flying down whatever store I’m in. Probably end up knocking a few shoppers over. Would they accept “I had to dance” as an excuse?? Probably not.