“And those who were seen dancing…”
You know that quote that goes around the Internet, plastered atop all kinds of different pretty backdrops: “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music.”?
It’s a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, and it's a good quote, but not always 100 percent applicable. A few weekends ago, I went to listen to live music four fabulous nights in a row, and of course, danced every one of those nights. I might have looked a little insane, but at least everyone else in the venues could hear the music too.
Thursday night was Quianna Parler and Co. at The Mezz, Friday night was Elise Testone and her all-star band at The Pour House for the James Brown Dance Party, Saturday night was a double feature of the Kelly Eldridge Quartet at Bambu and Who’s Bad at The Windjammer, and Sunday night was Havana Nights with the Gino Castillo Quartet at Voodoo.
Excuse me, what? Four nights in a row of fantastic live music and dancing, 80 percent of which was provided by local musicians? I was there, and I still can’t get over it. I danced so much that at the end of each night, I looked like I had jumped in the pool with all of my clothes on.
Dance and music are inextricably intertwined for me. You cannot have one without the other. I don’t understand people who go to listen to live music and are completely still. I can’t listen to music without somehow tapping my foot or grooving in my chair. There’s a symbiotic relationship between dancers and musicians that is breathtaking to witness. We give each other energy, we play off of each other. I wouldn’t have danced nearly as hard to pre-recorded, DJ-ed music. Sure, I can still get down, but there’s not the same energy. It’s hard to completely give yourself over to the music when you can’t hear every single little beat and layer the way you can when the music is live. It’s hard to lose yourself in the moment when you can’t see the sweat dripping off of the bass player’s fingers.
I always laugh at the end of those nights when the musicians thank me for dancing. That feels like somebody thanking me for walking or breathing—it’s so natural for me to move when there’s music playing that I don’t even think about it anymore.
I recently read a great Gertrude Stein quote that I hope replaces the one from Nietszche. It reads, “You look ridiculous if you dance, you look ridiculous if you don’t dance, so you might as well dance.” So, if you see me out dancing somewhere, please join me. We’ll look AWESOME together.
James Brown Dance Party pictures courtesy of Patrick Marzett