What’s your happy place? You know, that place you tap physically and spiritually for strength; that unique action that brings you the most titillating joy; that magical thing that would keep Gozer the Gozerian from taking on a menacing form in Ghostbusters?
We all have a special place we go to that floods us with euphoria. I must confess to having a few such places, with at least one I can’t mention given the all-age access to this article, but the one that floats my boat above all others is dancing.
I’m not talking about ballet, nor ballroom, and certainly not interpretive dance (although it may look like that to some). I’m talking about the pumping-my-body-to-the-driving-beats type of dancing. It’s the kind that manipulates every muscle in your body and is typically enjoyed in the company of other sweaty, arm-flailing partiers.
This ecstatic escape was first introduced to me by my older bother in New York City when I was just 13 years old! Remember that scene in Madonna’s Desperately Seeking Susan when she was cavorting in a night-club to the song “Get Into The Groove”? That space was called Danceteria, a narrow, multi-storied space with each floor having a unique experience leading up to a dance floor and bar on the roof with views of the Empire State Building and World Trade Centre. I remember the excitement to this very day or being able to jump around to dramatic beats I’d never before heard the likes of, even up on stage. Everyone was doing it? No one knew me. I was just another clubber at that moment doing my thing. What a life-changing night that was. During my young summer I explored many other historic (now gone) mega-clubs like Palladium and Limelight. This went on until the state of New York raised their drinking age to 21 and all the clubs cracked down on kids like me. It was a sad day indeed, but it opened my life up to a new world that in one way or another I’ve never left.
I’m certainly not the first to make this tribal revelry his happy place. Since humans have been upright (and perhaps in an eerie, missing-link sort of way before that) we’ve been grooving in celebration of life for one reason or another. In good times it’s been to welcome a harvest moon or to celebrate a loving union, but we dance in the darkest of times too. It reinforces the value of our existence. As the HIV wave washed across the Earth our peeps came together at mammoth events to rejoice in life, or as depicted in the disappointing sequel to the landmark sci-fi epic The Matrix, even in the face of extinction the people of Zion got down in their big, bad cave with reckless abandon. When facing their end they were going to draw strength from one of the purest communal joys they could share – dance!
Make no mistake that back here in reality these are tough times indeed major personal and global challenges on every front. We could let this darkness close in on us OR we can keep a bright light shining in our souls through dance. We can recharge our spirits by gathering with our brethren in pheromonal bliss, whirled into ecstasy by skilled rhythm-masters who know what we want and need.
Back in San Francisco these uplifting gatherings were weekly – WEEKLY I SAY – with numerous options on most weekends, so since moving down to Middle Earth you could say I’ve experienced some withdrawals from my periodic workouts. I’ve had to adjust to the more casual quarterly schedule that fits this land and the hard-working people in it. So when a chance to rattle my bones amongst friendly faces and jubilant chunes comes up, there no doubt I’m diving in head first. Dancing is not just good for the soul of the one but it can revitalise a community. If we’re all pressed to the grind, the more points where we can release tension the less chance there is we’ll snap unexpectedly somewhere down the road.
And what do you know, such an opportunity to pound the dance floor hits Auckland this weekend when Urge Bar joins forces the SF-based bear party phenomenon Bearracuda for their second annual joint venture!
Anyone who was at last November’s packed party remembers what a joyous time it was, and not just for its hirsute target audience but for all the sizes and shapes that dove into the mad fray. It was a friendly and welcoming night where we shook loose our urgent ties and recharged our organic batteries. Well here’s a chance celebrate our hard earned lives and soak up the energy to take on a few more months until the next musical power outlet comes along. Come and plug into the joy with me this Saturday night at 420 Club. I need it! You need it! We all need it! (Cue sinister Rocky Horror Picture Show laugh.)
NOTE: Please forgive the cheesy movie references but sometimes Hollywood really does paint the perfect picture!
| Leif Wauters