Dancing is a celebration of life. It can be sexy, it can be joyfully outrageous, it can be spontaneous but must of all it is so very soulful. I actually remember who I first asked to dance. It was at a 7th grade dance with a live band held in a gym at school. I wore khaki pants, a Lacoste shirt, penny loafers and a madras themed jacket. I think every guy wore basically the same clothes.
In my hometown back in the sixties they had an organized social dancing program that I was never invited to attend. The kids learned the waltz, the tango, and other dances. I still don’t actually know those dances. A generation later I remember my daughters attending those dance socials and being so excited each time. The social was always held at the Pelham Country Club.
In my young teens I was the bass player in a garage band named “The Last Rytes,” that actually played a lot of the town and school dances. Truth be known it was weird watching the few girls I had crushes on dancing with other boys on the dance floor below the stage.
Thankfully I attended both my junior and senior high school proms. To this day I recall dancing with my dates who were dressed to the nines. I wore a tuxedo to the junior prom and actual tails to my senior prom. I still have the photos!
College dancing was more of a spontaneous combustion thing. Music at live concerts or venues would cast a magic spell on me. With certain songs I just had to get up and “boogie!” Songs by The Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead were automatic get up and find someone, anyone, to dance with. Eventually there was a special girlfriend, but before that it was Russian roulette asking, meaning four or five misses before a click.
Now as a sixty-something I am married to a former professional belly dancer. Too often I stop dancing just to watch my wife Cindi move. She loves to dance and many times we miss servings at weddings because we are constantly up on the floor dancing. Sometimes we are the only folks dancing, but usually others eventually get up to join us. At our own wedding I don’t recall not being on the floor dancing while the music played!
On the east end just before Covid the Town of East Hampton began to enforce no dancing at bars and restaurants that had live music but weren’t properly coded for dancing. The town still does not make it easy to allow dancing. I believe it is in the name of safety. I liked it better when such safety laws didn’t exist. But the publicized tragedies in “social” clubs around the country ended that freedom. Now all sorts of occupancy codes are thoroughly enforced. Somehow buried in those safety codes are rules prohibiting dancing.
I believe the Covid quarantines and safety protocols have eroded the subconscious freedom of spontaneous dancing. Too many folks are still uncomfortable in crowded places because the threat of Covid still exists. I just hope life somehow goes back to how it was before Covid.
I suppose we all have a dance story or two. My favorite is a night while vacationing in Cancun. It was a night of one those special full moons that I never knew about years ago. Cindi and I had enjoyed a cocktail or two with dinner. We usually never do that. However, that night we were not driving anywhere, because we were staying at the resort.
All night great music was piped all over the resort. The sound system was of high quality. Under both the glow of a huge full moon and the shadows it made from the branches of tall palm trees Cindi and I danced together. We were down by a pool right off the Gulf of Mexico. We were in the moment. I recall we did romantic slow dances, high energy fast dances, a few traditional dances and even attempted to dance to some of the new rap songs.
We were celebrating our love of life. Our souls were airing it out. It felt great! I believe we all need to do more of this on the east end.