Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's Dance #1

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.

16 comments:

Lulu LaBonne said...

A4 God didn't like Irish dancing (which used to involve excessively mad arm-waving and clapping), he caused a plague that made practitioners arms immobile

Francis Sedgemore said...

"it’s simply sensible flamenco"

Or genteel pogo. And without the gobbing.

Gaw said...

I think the English used up all the arms for their aggressive truncheon-wielding 'Morris' dancing. As usual.

BTW I hear there's some scientist/blogger type who is hankering to get booked to introduce the Romanians to the delights of the Morris Dance. The opera house sounds like the right venue.

Francis Sedgemore said...

Morris: a life with bells on

Very popular in Des Moines, apparently.

worm said...

whether it be ballet, modern dance, breakdancing or riverdancing; I can't see the attraction in watching people leaping about for no reason for hours on end. I might like it more if there was some form of betting or danger involved

Gorilla Bananas said...

That's a jig, not a dance. Dancing is too gay for the Irish.

Kevin Musgrove said...

It's not the same without a lock-in in Kilburn.

inkspot said...

A5 without arms it's hard to molest altar boys. Apparently god cares a lot about that unless you're a priest.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Lulu, it's a possibility, but then, theoretically, almost anything is a possibility ;-)

Dr Francis, welcome back sir - genteel pogo, what a great new dance!

Gaw, an interesting political perspective on 'Morris' dancing as a police training exercise. Purleeze give me this chap's number.

Dr Francis, ah, I love the trailer of that film. (But is it actually a film? It should be. I hope it is.)

Worm, yes, I realise it's not for everybody, and feel free to ignore future posts on this subject. Maybe it's more exhilarating if you've danced a bit yourself and have felt the burn.

Bananas, you may be right. Not sure where the gig/dance dividing line is though.

Kevin, old son, exactly!

Inkspot, a topical point and well made. Important to consider that any putative Supreme Being and the Catholic Church may not be one and the same entity, though.

Pat said...

Smashing evening - I hope there was a Guiness substitute, Not much you can do I suppose about the lady sitting behind.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Pat, unfortunately there wasn't a Guinness substitute until I got home and opened the fridge ;-)

Camilla Jessop said...

Dancing today is so lascivious; partly dressed bodies whirling like dervishes, people pawing at each other. I did so like the the dansant of my younger days; one gentle hand on the shoulder and the other at the waist - and although sometimes that hand slipped a little lower, it never strayed towards the top bottom.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Camilla, darling, it's all gone Top Shop these days, hasn't it, it's really very disappointing; I remember when one could have a pas de deux with a lady and not have to visit the G.U.M. clinic the next day.

雪糕 said...

先告訴自己希望成為什麼樣的人,然後一步一步實踐必要的步驟。........................................

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Michael Flatley used to do a number called "The General" where he was dressed in black and danced like he was marching, to military drum rolls. Impressive, but made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Wasn't my flippin' fault. My ancestors WERE Irish.

Gadjo Dilo said...

雪糕, I'll take two - oh, and throw in some herbal viagra as well.

Daph, I know a lot of Irishmen have fought in the British armed forces over the centuries, but I'm suprised Flatley should consider this due cause for a spot of scary militarism, especially through the medium of Irish dance!