Commandment II: Thou shall be danced with properly
Eye contact is made from across the room. She bashfully looks away, as he slowly approaches her. She begins to dance and he follows her lead, every turn and sway, he emulates her movements. The two pause. Then, they begin their dance together perfectly synchronized, eyes locked on each other as they seemingly glide through the air. The picture resembles a scene out of Shall We Dance or The Notebook. Yet, this dance is not done by two people in love, but by two birds. The courtship of Great Crested Grebes involves an intricate series of dance movements in which the finale is a synchronized walk on water-esque glide. A scene so graceful, biologists wait in hopes of capturing a glimpse of the ritual.
Now, let’s take a visit to the nightclub just down the street from this lake. Bumping. Grinding. Groping. Not quite the graceful moves as seen by our bird friends. Why is it that humans, the top of the food chain, the most highly complex and intelligent beings, seemingly behave the most animalistic when it comes to dancing? Of course, not all people dance this way—some have managed to keep the Fred Astaire and Grace Kelly respectful mode of dancing still alive. Yet “freak” dancing is slowly spreading throughout clubs all over the world, infecting men with the urge to walk up behind any girl that they please, and contaminating women with the thought that they are supposed to provide a stand-up lap dance for them. But it’s not too late. This freak-dancing epidemic can still be controlled with a little guidance.
The Approach: First and foremost, women are not dogs in heat. Therefore, under no circumstances should a man come up behind her and start humping her on the dance floor. It doesn’t take much effort to take three more steps forward so she can see your face, introduce yourself and then ask to dance with her. Give her the option of choosing whether or not she wants that dance. You would never come up behind a horse without letting it see you first, unless you want a nice kick to the groin. Women have the same mindset, so give them the respect of making an appearance first.
The Dance: It is true that dancing is not every person’s strong suit. Some people are insecure in their dancing style and, as a result, find comfort in dancing behind a woman so that she won’t notice it. And some women may also prefer this for similar reasons. However, as seen with the grebes, dancing was meant to be a mutual interaction between a pair. When you can physically see the person in front of you, make eye contact, or even talk, a connection is able to happen, much more than anything that can occur if you’re looking at someone’s back. Although it may be discomforting, make the effort to dance face-to-face with the person. Your own unique style will come along the more you practice. Don’t worry too much about what other people think—most likely they are worried about their own dancing. In order to be a great dancer, all you need is confidence. Not Michael Jackson’s spin, Shakira’s hip shakes, or even Patrick Swayze’s famous lift in Dirty Dancing (although that would be impressive). You just need to be yourself, and respectful towards the person you are dancing with.
Birds use it in courtship. Bees do it to signal to their hive that they’ve found food. Rattlesnakes do it when they’re about to get into a fight (think Westside Story). Face it, the world was made to dance. Dancing is supposed to be a time to express yourself through your body and be free. And sharing that with someone else only makes it better. So let’s do it the right way.
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Creative Writing Columnist, Caroline Lewis:
My name is Caroline Lewis, I am a super-senior at Cal (they just can't get rid of me!), and I am studying Integrative Biology with a minor in Creative Writing. Some might be thinking, "Why, those have absolutely nothing to do with each other" but I love writing fiction, it's my means of escape from the rigorous world of science. I especially love to incorporate humor into my writing; sometimes you have to search for it, but don't worry it's hidden in there somewhere! I hope you enjoy my work as much as I love creating it, and I look forward to working with this great group at Unleashed.