I recently read a great article on reset.me about Ecstatic Dancing. The article titled: “Want To Feel Ecstatic? Dance Like No One’s Watching — Seriously” brought back intense feelings of what it used to feel like to dance when certain styles and techniques had not really set in. I remember being 16, and going to my first rave in a cultural center just 10 minutes from my house and being blown away by the dancing, because it lacked homogeneity. Everyone danced to the beat of this outlandish music I had never heard before, and yet while certain patterns definitely existed between the individual stompers, there was this appeal to freedom of expression that drew me in, and made me feel like I was at home. Most people I would imagine dance in their kitchens, safe away from the eyes of those who might watch and critique, yet few would take the time to dress outlandishly and embark on a journey in freezing Toronto to get inside and let their freedom down. Yet Toronto’s undergroundish rave scene differed from the one club I had been to, primarily because most people deviated from the slow grinding that I imagined club life would be like, and instead threw their bodies around, slowly moving between other people in a rhythmic bliss, as happy hardcore and more bassy melodies played in the background. It is something I have yet to see in my time in Vancouver in such a collected sense. It wasn’t about sex necessarily, nor hooking up, although I’m sure both happened for most quite frequently. There was a solidarity and the individualness, and for 16 year old me it provided this feeling like I had found my place.
Eventually, however, I began to pick up certain techniques, whether it was gloving, rinsing, liquiding, shuffling (of which I am horrendous at), or others. Did I lose something in this return to a more structured form? Or did the combining of so many different flavours and styles just give me a better way of explaining how I felt, of speaking my bodies language to the music. I find that now for me to really break out of certain moves, it requires a lot of time on the dancefloor, where the same move again and again falls apart to more complicated moves as I warm up. I still dance in my kitchen/living room a lot, and I still feel like my dancing is more of an expression rather than a means to an end. I dance when I walk, when I talk, when I’m making food, and I dance with others. When I head back home and I go out to party I sometimes run into my old “rave” friends who have long since tossed out their tripp pants for skinny jeans, their Kandi bracelets for bare wrists.
The article says that small children physically respond to music, like there is a biological prerogative to turn drum kicks into flails. There is an amazing video of me as a small child dancing to “Old Time Rock and Roll” of which I hope will never see the light of day as it is on old time analog video tape. I’ve seen the video since, and I just flail around, totally in love with the music. At some point I got awkward, and stopped wanting to dance, instead preferring the sweet bumping of a mosh pit instead. I can safely say that I found my groove again, yet to lose it until I was 16, was a real shame.
I make up for it everyday instead.