Recently I was at a party with friends and family and music began to play. Everyone was sitting around chatting and enjoying each other’s company but I found myself dancing. Well, it helps if you are standing up holding a 10-month old grandson in one’s arms but I surprised myself by dancing and all on my own.
And then I began to think… I often find myself in situations where music is playing and I feel an urge to dance, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether it is Mozart or Mamma Mia, I do want to move, or get in the groove, or just enter body and soul into the moment. In the past music involved singing and dancing, there weren’t all the different boxes that we like to categorise music with today. In the Baroque period they would have felt it normal to dance to the music. Even in the Messiah we have wonderful dance tunes, particularly for ‘How beautiful are the feet’ quite appropriately.
I remember Nancy Argenta explaining that the secret of Bach singing was to dance to it.
What has become of our 21st century generation if we feel we can’t dance to music? I think we are losing deep connections with our inner beings. Recently in Latvia, dancing around oak tress and Linden trees singing the 1000 songs which are especially written for midsummer solstice I was struck by how natural it all felt. The links with the land and each other, the smell of the woodland floor as we danced on the leaves, it was a complete holistic experience and one that once a few generations ago would have seemed normal and natural.
Singing and dancing are too important to lose, for our individual health but also for cultural identity, our historical rich heritage. And I don’t just mean the traditional folk songs but the popular songs of our culture. I’ve been around since the fifties and grew up with the Beatles and the Beach Boys, I want to dance to that music too. I’ve never been to Glastonbury but I would guess part of that vibe is the dancing and movement to music and the singalong with football matches and even Wimbledon now is part of a need we all have to move.
Our sedentary lifestyle is slowly killing us, sitting at computers, desks, in cars or trains or planes. Music should make us get out of our seats and dance!