A little cliche, I know, but this had to be here since I love Broadway musicals.
The song has a rather depressing message of abandoning intellectual pursuits in favor of just coasting. While i certainly don’t advocate dropping out of school and practicing your dance moves the whole time (Hairspray anyone?), I think there’s something in the idea of letting everything go and just dancing for a while.
First of all, it’s a relaxation. for me, it’s almost like meditation. The moves are in the body, the following is instinctual (the leading is coming along). The music is familiar, the venues almost feel more like home than the place where I sleep. Dancing is therefore a much needed break in the midst of an otherwise overly hectic life. It’s also exercise, and mentally stimulating, with all of those split second decisions. You can go look up all the research on it, that’s not what i want to focus on in this post.
I want to talk more about the idea that “woes are fleeting, blows are glancing when you’re dancing through life”. I think that dancing has incredible power to make us more resilient to the vicissitudes of life. We come back to things that we struggled with before, both dances and dance events. We get turned down for dances, have our off nights, struggle to learn new things, and yet, we come back next week. We strike off on our own, or with friends to explore a new venue, or a new dance form. And through dancing, we come to realize our own power. There are things we are good at, things that come easy to us. And there are other things that are hard, but with perseverance we overcome them. We learn the dance form that has always eluded us, or get up the nerve to ask that person for a dance that we’ve been watching all night.
The song also says “nothing matters but knowing nothing matters. It’s just life”. And it’s true. Dancing, for all that it is and does, is just dancing. It’s been invaluable for me in learning not to make a mountain out of a molehill. So you miss a night of dancing. There will be another dance next week. So you haven’t solved your current problem yet, but you’ll get it sooner or later. Maybe take a break and go dancing. Don’t think about it, and the answer will come to you.
Dancing refreshes us, and fortifies us to face whatever life throws at us. “So keep dancing through.”