Love is like dancing – or is dancing like love?

Pierce Brosnan once said “Love is a lot like dancing; you just surrender to the music.” –

A couple of years ago, somebody turned this into a haiku for me. Looking for something else, I came across it again. I am not sure whether it was ever published. This and a conversation on twitter about working out for body and soul got me thinking.

Most days I escape my desk to go to a dance class. My favourites are ballet and commercial jazz. They are very different. Ballet is a familiar, challenging discipline – my amateur class is a toned down version of what professional dancers do every day; commercial jazz is a tough warm-up and workout followed by an energetic dance routine generally to a chart-topping single. It’s like being in a music video! Neither of these feels like surrender although you need energy and commitment to get the most out of them physically and mentally. They are taught by former and current performers. I am not a natural performer so I like the combination of performance and safety in numbers. There are no soloists in the classes I go to! Like other aerobic exercise, dance releases endorphins and everyone leaves class tired, but smiling.

Dancing is my workout, but it is also my therapy and my release. I cannot worry about my life and work when I am dancing. I need to concentrate on the techniques and sequences and feel how they work with the music. Of course dancing means responding to music so there’s a physical and emotional release. But I see it as self-expression rather than surrender. Classical ballet to piano music feels very different from a raunchy routine to Britney Spears or Nicole Scherzinger or lyrical choreography that involves spinning and falling. My choice of class might depend on my frame of mind.

I’m not sure that love is like dancing – the comparison is just not that straightforward. At Steps on Broadway dance studio in New York I found another quote, this time via dance coach Peter Townsend: “Dance enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time”. When you put it that way, perhaps it’s the other way around: dancing is like love.

Commercial jazz classes are taught by Karen Estabrook at Pineapple Dance Studios, London

The acrobatic dance routine below is Duo Flame dancing to Nina Simone’s Feeling Good

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