Jeremy Vine of Radio 2 fame was recently chastised with using the term ‘Dad Dancing’ in a derogatory way. In fact, the dictionary definition of Dad Dancing is ‘an awkward or unfashionable dancing to pop music, as characteristically performed by middle aged or older men’.
But the truth is that I have fond memories of my Dad dancing at every family event, spinning two women at a time in a fast-paced jive. He grew up with eight dance-mad sisters and he cottoned on quickly to that fact that if he wanted to be seen as a great catch, he needed to throw those shapes!
But as time went by, he stopped.
Equally my brother, the fabulous furniture designer Peter Masters, has a secret talent of being able to throw moves that not even his girlfriend has seen. Put him head to head with Jay Kay from Jamiroquai and I’m confident he would win the dance off. He is one awesomely funky cat on the floor.
But he stopped too.
I have many male friends that spent every weekend racing up and down motorways in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Heads hanging out of car windows, listening for a base line to a hidden warehouse rave, so they too could get their groove on for ten hours of solid dancing.
But not any more.
Is it a coming of age thing? A need to conform and act sensibly? A fear of becoming a dreaded Dad Dancer?
Is it that self-consciousness that comes with getting older that’s to blame? Time has passed, things have slowed down, you’ve grown up. Is it that the actually physicality of feeling your body move, that was once empowering, is now the antithesis of being a grown up in control? Is letting go on the dance floor now just for the young and cool?
How very sad.
Dancing and feeling the body move is such a joyful experience. I truly believe that there’s nothing more attractive than watching someone dance and living in the moment. Just feeling the music and letting go. Out of time? Not ofay with the current moves? Who cares? There’s truly no right or wrong way to dance.
So, here’s to all the kitchen disco, dancing heroes who are still getting their groove on.
Even if it is when no one’s watching. We salute you!