WARNING: This is a foretaste of several posts that will discuss dancing and will be of no interest whatsoever to anybody at all except, errr, me.
Last week Mrs Dilo and I and a friend went to see a performance of Irish dancing at our Romanian opera house. The tickets were expensive, and I think there was never much chance it would better the Russian dance troupe that came last year, but it was still a good evening: costumes, pacey music, professional dancing and even a couple of songs I knew the words to and could sing along to – smashing, almost like being back in North London. And I was glad to see the audience here giving a standing ovation at the end. I respect anybody who can organise a bunch of musicians and hoofers and bring a folk art to wider audience. (Romanian dance has as yet no Michael Flatley, a Moses to lead it out of the wilderness of village weddings and anodyne TV shows and into the major concert halls of the world). Just a couple of disappointments for me: firstly, no pints of Guinness, either in the foyer or on the stage, and judging by the covers of LPs by The Dubliners, the Furie Brothers etc I'd always thought that these were a requisite, and I really fancied one; secondly, the woman sitting behind me who was introduced as one of my wife’s colleagues said “Oh, you’re English, not Irish – a lot of Irish died under English rule, didn’t they?” (disappointment in this case with some aspects of British foreign policy, of course).
But one question that I had when I entered the theatre was still unsolved when I left. Here it is, together with some possible answers; perhaps you can help me judge which is the correct one:
Q: If God meant us to do Irish dancing, why did He* give us arms?
A1: God didn’t give us arms: we were created without them expressly with Irish dancing in mind, but evolved them later on our own initiative so as to better cope with this fallen world.
A2: God did give us arms but special arms that become immobile when performing Irish dancing – the boys' trousers in this show were rather tightly cut and the girls' skirts were really very short, and it would have been a sin to put us in the way of such temptation whilst dancing.
A3: There is no God, and no such thing as Irish dancing – it’s simply sensible flamenco.
Of course, I lie, you can use your arms. Sadly I can’t find any clips of glorious, cult, feminist Irish dancing troupe The Hairy Marys with their show No Snakes Please, We're Irish.... ah, North London..... but here’s the act we saw and it does feature at least one arm movement.
* I know. But I'm in the mood to be brief.