'Tis fascinating how easily I find the time and motivation to practice dancing. It is an anytime activity. All I need is a pair of shoes -- rather than resort to sandals or bare feet -- and a flat surface.
...and my trusty mp3 player.
My average session time is an hour on the tootsies daily.
Time flies when you are having fun.
This isn't a routine so much as an addiction, driven by the prospect of new thrills -- of nailing a dance or exploring a new one.
And the more you practice the more you engage with each song.
It's not unusual for a particular melody to haunt me for days as I negotiate its initial steps. Each song becomes a muse insisting that I deepen the physical relationship. Beckoning me to strive for a state of union....and comfort in its presence. That's the thing because the degree of difficulty lessens over time and the dance, each dance, becomes as effortless as walking.
The physiological irony is that on some days I can dance much better than I can walk.
So when I'm wondering what did I do today, any day, I conclude that while I may not have done much else at least I danced.
But it is dancing that has a dynamic. There is always a new dance in my repertoire and each new dance leads me onto another and then others still as my skills improve. It's a constant learning curve partly driven by my teaching/sharing responsibilities. As they say, you don't know anything until you try to teach it.
All this is formatted by the culture -- the 'soul' culture -- of Afro American musical preference and creativity. Soul is all -- via zydeco, blues, hip hop, funk, gogo, disco, etc -- and that rules the programming. But I rely on my online networking to tap into and draw on the music and dance as I aint a brother nor am I stateside. That means that the generosity of the dancers in the United States via the medium of YouTube is my primary resource.
So while I'm studying a new dance I'm trawling the web collecting more choreography. In my head there is an undoubted preference ruled not only by my projected capabilities but a certain musical niche I'm attracted to -- my 'style'.
This boutique 'soulness' is my quest because it isn't just what you do but also how you do it and dancing soul is a world away from other dance forms. It isn't about the perfect execution of each step so much as the state of dancing the dance. One rule:stay loyal to the rhythm.
The Sufis certainly knew a thing or two about the spiritual power of music and dance when they got those Devishers to whirl -- despite the fact that with soul the lyrics are a long way from any clerical catechism. Soul music is, afterall, continuous from Gospel that bore it. This connectedness to a greater meaning is not so evident in other popular musical forms.
And for me soul line dancing transcends routine entertainment so that it becomes a core celebration of community in human culture. Line dancing is pervasive across all indigenous societies. Everyone danced in a line or circle. Single persons or couples dancing together are choreographic aberrations.
My problem is that I am not offered the dance culture I deserve as doing this stuff like I do is done in isolation. This isn't just another form of line dancing for me. It's a channeling of something much broader. It's an opening to this other human cultural experience which is deeper and more significant than simply listening to the music. I've 'listened' for decades. Only now do I get it.
Dance it and you begin to understand it. The poetry is in the motion. If you don't sing it or play it, dance is the only way in.