Apr 22, 2022
3 mins read
One of the most satisfying experiences I have is when people's faces and bodies go from visibly shrunken and grumpy to bursting from every pore with laughter. The relief is palpable. Today I was out on my 'normal' routine of dancing 'lemon style' and a workman caught me out of the corner of his eye as he was loading his truck and then we he turned to see me burst forward in laughter, shoulders, belly, body shaking with joy. What an extraordinary and necessary thing.
We have lived the past two plus years in seriousness. If a metaphoric alien was to visit our planet it could be forgiven for thinking this was our religion, this manifest seriousness. And yet human experience has always balanced itself between the comic and the tragic. It is the comedy, the joy which allows us to survive... and thrive.
In Conrad Hyers book The Spirituality of Comedy-Comic Heroism in a Tragic World he speak of how the social sciences and humanities have been dominated by studies that ignore our playful and comic side. But this is a unbalanced view.
He goes on further to state "Comedies are biologically and psychologically sound."
And yet so little resource is committed to enjoyment for it's own sake.
I recently spoke to a local Mum about how I was tired of activities offered for my child always being tempered by 'issues' - be it climate change or war or Covid etc etc etc. She started to say 'well I guess if you offer something (like dance), you can always add in the other stuff later'.
I stopped her and said - 'Or not. Or maybe we just let kids dance'.
It was a penny dropping moment for her, as though that thought had not occurred to her. The benefit of enjoyment for it's own sake has been so undermined that issue based arts and theatre and dance and expression fill our imaginations and headspace.
And yet when I do my silly dance (and silly it is) people respond immediately like they are coming up for air, so deprived of the joyous in their day to day. Radio, TV, bus adverts, twitter feeds are all dominated by doomsday scenarios. On the tips of our lips are the weight of recession, energy crisis, inequity and health issues. And where is the comic balance? Where is the space where we gather as one, to forgive, to reconcile our difference and find a way forward?
For me, for now, it's the dancing lemon offering a bit of joyous abandon in the everyday. I am literally a lemon preserve, creating a space where the best bits of humanity can be held and transform the spaces and places and people around, not to mention for myself.
Children know this inherently, they are, on the main, bonkers and feel at home being silly, free and dancing given the right circumstances. Which is why I have a regular posse here in Pollokshields of dancers on the ready. In addition I have had many interludes this week with folks giving it up for spontaneous dancing including Beth, who I got 'dalking' with. It is a marvellous thing, and long may it continue!
I have now danced 89.4 miles of joy towards my 500 mile goal! I started the 7th of March and will continue till I reach 500! Thanks to all for supporting me. I am currently working on my summer lemon costume.... my costumes average £150-250 so every penny counts! Please have a read through my other posts from the week - it's been brilliant meeting with folks and getting dancing. Life is a marvellous and wonderful thing. Remember that!