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Why the hell aren't you dancing?

Less standing, more dancing!

  • WORDS: DEV WHITE | ARTWORK: LAWRENCE ABBOTT
  • 8 November 2019

It’s Saturday night and as per usual, I’ve gotten off my absolutely wretched 10-hour bussing shift. Feet throbbing and only one shift drink in, I’m focusing my mental and physical stamina toward my next practical stop, the dancefloor. As drunk customers mindlessly elbow me and literally scream into each others ears, as well as mine, it’s time to work out this anger with a proper session in the dance. The rest of the night will go one of two ways. I’ll either dance my heart out and come back to work with a fresh perspective on the monotony of the hospitality industry or I’ll be bamboozled by cumbersome individuals getting in the way of my dance space. Let’s assume the latter.

The dancefloors of this generation can sometimes be a disappointing snapshot into our society. The undeniable impact of the internet with social media and convenient distractions have sent people into the mind-boggling activity of aimlessly staring at their phones on the dancefloor. As the dance scene has grown exponentially over the past few decades, so has the digital age, changing our beloved dancefloors into Black Mirror-esque scenarios. Besides those that are enveloped by their devices, there are others who have begun the absolutely infuriating trend of standing still while staring directly at the DJ.

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Now, before anyone decides to come for me, I completely understand if you love the music, but you don’t want to dance. Maybe you had a long day at work. Maybe you feel uncomfortable. Maybe you KNOW your dance moves are whack. That is okay. But, please, let the rest of us live. It’ll be 2:30am, prime dance time, and I’m still surrounded by head bobbers. I’m a couple rows back, visibly frustrated and unable to get to my favorite dance spot. The front left is the only place for us dance fiends to truly rage together to those driving house grooves and head banging techno beats. We want to be as close as possible to the enveloping reverberations of the deafening speakers, and we want to let the DJ know that we are absolutely losing it.

On the other hand, I understand if you would like to watch the DJ cinematically conduct an electronic orchestra on a variety of grooveboxes, synth pianos and drum machines. This is something we have discussed in the past, acknowledging that the art the DJ is creating is equally as important as the end product. But, can I ask that you find a groove in your footing while doing it? Otherwise, I may dance with my hands flailing above your head in an effort to get you to succumb to my energy or feel forced out of it.

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There is one other predicament here. There are people at these shows who are being introduced to the scene, unaware of the space they’ve entered. There’s a learning curve to everything, so if you’re lost, here’s my take. For me, the dance community is supposed to be a safe haven, a free-flowing community space where the outside world doesn’t feel so real. We come to dance to experience a release from this stressful, individualistic, restricting society. The organizers of the event also take time to curate these nights - getting artist lineups, stocking the bar, setting up sound equipment, building the visual aesthetic and more. These nights are integral to the livelihood of the community and we are all working to ensure its survival.

Some may feel that I’m making a big deal out of a small issue. But, this isn’t solely about me. It’s about the entire flow of the club atmosphere. It’s like a radiation of energy. If you’re close to the Sun, that shit’s scorching hot; but, if you’re feeling it from Mars, it’s cold as ice. When the non-dancers clog up the front of the floor, it creates an obvious separation in the flow of energy. I can’t even begin to imagine how the DJ feels when they’re dropping hard dancefloor cuts to an audience of robots.

All I’m saying is, I want to enjoy my night, feeling the sound waves of heavy house and techno pulsating through my flesh as I dance the horrors of my day away until 6am or later. Tomorrow, I have to return to the systemic prison I’m attempting to escape, and it’s probably best if I don’t punch a customer.

Fellow club-goers and dance music lovers, I beg of you, move to the back or dance. There’s no excuse. This is called dance music, so let me fucking DANCE.

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Dev White is Mixmag's Editorial Intern, follow her on Twitter

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