According To A New Report, Dancing Delays Death

Which report? I can’t exactly remember now, but just pick through the week’s news, and you’re sure to find some research report that fits whatever you need to hear. Why chocolate and trans-fat are really good for you…why red meat is actually better than asparagus…why it’s time to dump the E-cigarettes and get back to the real field-grown stuff…why sex is not only good after 60, but also after Bear games, music concerts, and Sunday Mass.

Somewhere among the latest reports, I predict you’ll find one about the benefits of dancing. Probably some sunny California campus where the data tells the white-lab-coats in there how the endorphins released by dancing the Maraschino can add months to your lifespan.


Before we laugh too cynically, there really may be something to the benefits of dancing. Personally I’ve never realized any, but that’s because my feet have all the natural rhythm of a sea turtle. Still, dancing is very likely the oldest art form in the long evolutionary history of our species. Beginning with the tribal bonfire dances placating the local gods, right down to the prom night dances placating the frustrated date we took to the affair.

Moving to the sound of drums, marching bands, dixieland or just the primal rhythms of our own soul –dancing is so natural. so necessary. so human. Our bodies suddenly shut off our brains, for sometimes there is something magnificently obligatory about moving. Watch Michel Baryshnikov spin in mid air…Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Michael Jackson roar through a scene… Jennifer Beals flashdance ..and my own personal favorite Anthony Quinn move with the universe itself in ‘Zorba The Greek.’

I defy you — and, yes, my turtle feet too! — not to start moving at certain unplanned times. And as we do, to start getting in touch with some of those repressed instincts to let your hair down, your propriety go, and your zany cartwheeling child once again free to be totally and incomprehensibly silly. Without the release of the dance, the madness can build up.

And, I ask you, what kind of a world would we be if suddenly we all traveled mad on turtle feet!

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