Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ten Cents a Dance

Dances, being practically nonexistent in contemporary culture, have become pedagogical traps.  Children are taught that a 3/4 time signature is a waltz.  That is all there is too it, according to that plan.

But minuets are in 3/4 time, as are mazurkas, and they ain't got nuttin' to do with waltzing, as there is no accentuated downbeat in either one.  Nor in a saraband, for that matter.

So what are we to do?  Maybe we should spend more time at the movies watching people dance who really know how to do it, whether in 3/4 or in some other meter.

There has to be room for bodily movement in between the beats, for exuberance, for drunkenness, for flirtation, for simple teasing.

Last night I played a selection of dances from various periods, old and new.  Not a dead beat in the bunch, and I mean within the dances themselves.  The composers: Clementi, Bach, Bartok, Gershwin, Tibor de Harsanyi, Debussy, Schubert.  No deadbeats there either!