Dancing As Competition

A few years ago I went to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens to see the British Open Championships, part of the Blackpool Dance Festival. This event, like countless others, pits dancers against each other.

It is a sport. And a spectacle, I can vouch, with the sparkle of glitter and sequins pulsing light-reflection as the cocksure android-esque dancers twirl & weave choreographered near-perfection.

But dancing, I believe, always has competition about it. In the nightclub, on the dancefloor. Dancing is a struggle. A struggle for space, for time, to maintain complicated physical rhythms of movement. The parallels with more recognisably “sporty” forms.

My experiences lead me further into the world of competitive dance. I am an expressive dancer. It has been said that I am flamboyant,eccentric, flailing and child-like. It has also been derised as inconsiderate, aggressive, even dangerous. I am also stubborn. So, when my heterodox dancing ends up unacceptable, confrontational… I struggle against that too. I find myself with the choice between stopping/comforming and dancing to spite the others, the non-believers. This is not an easy choice. But I am often so locked into the state of mind I lovingly refer to as The DanceVision that I… effectively… go to war.

Dance is a war. My esteemed dancing comrade Nicholas & I are contradictions in this no-man’s-land of dance. We are both (1) devastating soldiers, able to clear a dancefloor before we have even reached top gear, taking no prisoners… And (2) conscientious objectors, polite boys who regret the fact we accidently slap the chops miserable self-aware swaying consensus-dancers. It’s a moral quandry.

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