I want to know why we stopped dancing.

Where have the movements and the fashion and the rebellion gone? Why did we (you, my friends, our friends of friends) stop going out to dance? Spontaneously; last-minute (in flat shoes with no make up and knotty hair), like we used to?

It’s as if, sometime after we turned 30, they moved in, cordoned off the area and ushered us away. And we quietly let them. Times when we dance can now be counted on one hand. A wedding. A club in Barcelona (but only because it was Barcelona). A fortieth.

I’ve noticed it more since I’ve been single. Single is not what bothers me and it isn’t where loneliness is born. That comes from four walls on a Saturday night, a reading lamp instead of city lights and an Ikea rug where sticky floors should be. I dance alone but it’s never the same. Dance needs others. This is my lament. (Nb. I’m plotting to start a collective: The Adult Dance Club. Together we’ll make the city ours again).

But the uninhibiting now makes us feel uncomfortable. So we create rules and order and planning and prerequisite criteria. Venues can’t be too scene-y but the beer has to be craft. It can’t be owned by bikies and we won’t ever queue. If it’s a Friday night after work we will definitely be too tired. We allocate time in advance and make sure families and lovers and children don’t mind. We’re fixated on not fitting in or being too fat or old or unfashionable or ignorant of things. We study pictures in crowds to make sure we’re not too old to pass. And when we finally do go the dancing is relegated to nostalgia. Something we once did and now only do to remember. We gave up on modern music years ago.

But I want to know – do you miss it too?

That time when time didn’t matter. When we got sweaty and the beat quivered through our bones. When we lost track of where we began and ended – limbs leveled as we moved together. Smiling at a stranger as the DJ mixed in that track. Scraping away fears so that by 2am we were certain everything would be OK. Finding each other. Listening to the same song in the dark a week later and remembering. All the endless, beautiful, curious possibilities.

All I want to do is dance again.


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