mike dancingThe time is 04:14.

I’ve just gotten home from a club in Shibuya, and I just have to say a few words about dancing.

Dancing is extremely underrated. It invigorates, stimulates, and resets the mind.

I don’t care about your age. I didn’t start dancing until I was 33, and I’m now 47. That is 20 years older than what several people guessed my age to be tonight as I took to the dance floor and shook a whole lot more than what the hokey-pokey ever called for. Dancing is the fountain of youth. Well, alright. Some of my youthful looks are attributable to genetics as I looked 14 when I was 18, but aside from that, I’m going to claim that dancing has been a major contributor to my lack of stress. That, in turn, has led to less gray hair and wrinkles, and keeps a smile on my face.

Recently several people have been asking for my secret to looking young. Some of it is just the common sense of not smoking, drinking moderately, staying out of stressful relationships, and getting adequate exercise. But I must confess that I would not feel nearly so young if I could not and did not dance.

And it’s not just me. Earlier tonight I bumped into a female friend who has passed 50 and still dances. She also shows little stress and is constantly smiling. And she looks about 35.

So what is it about dancing that is so therapeutic? I guess it’s the way the base part of the brain combines the colors of music in a temporal way with the kinetic capabilities of the body to reset the higher cognitive functions that tend to muck up with stress, worry and other negative emotions. Or it could be just magic.

In any event, I highly recommend it. When I started dancing at 33, I was a bit concerned about how I appeared to others, but I soon got over that and developed my own funky style that looks as if I’m doing something conscious. But it’s not conscious. It is just the way my body interacts with the music. I remember 10 years ago when I was really shaking it in a non-synthetic mode of ecstasy, junkies would come up to me and ask where they could buy the drugs. I pointed out the undercover policeman by the bar. Just kidding. Plus, there were two gay guys who used to sit and watch me dance as they were evidently discussing my sexual orientation. I did not let even that stop me. I just kept shaking things until it began to look like it all shook on purpose.

Now, I still get some comments about the odd way I dance, but I also get people asking me to teach them what I’m doing. However, it’s all so sublimated that I can’t even begin to give instructions.

Dancing may also be the reason why I am able, from time to time, to attract some of the younger girls. And it is not only in romance, but also in general social interactions; people enjoy being with people who are uninhibited on the dance floor. It is actually a good indicator of personality. I went out with my friend Jane one night in Kansas City, and while we were watching the 200+ people on the dance floor, I noticed one girl who quite obviously was transcending all else while the music moved her body. I pointed and told Jane something I had never before said. “That is my next girlfriend”. I then walked up to the dancing girl, introduced myself, and a few songs later she was mine.

In addition, while your body is doing whatever it will on the dance floor, your mind is entirely free to go where ever it wants. I’ve done some great philosophizing while moving to the rhythm. I’ve actually had some interesting epiphanies while shaking what shakes. If only Nietzsche had met James Brown, he wouldn’t have been so grumpy.

And it’s not that I listen to music all day. Sure, people see me with my iPod plugged into my ears 4 or 5 hours a day, but that’s actually all about my other life. It’s never music I listen to, but rather podcasts on science, history and philosophy. Please don’t tell anyone how nerdy I actually am. So when I hit the dance floor, the music is fresh and invigorating.

To conclude, dancing is an great way to exercise, it dissipates stress and negative emotions, plus it gives you an opportunity to do some innovative thinking.

Stop worrying about your age or what people might think.

Shake somethin’.


One thought on “Dance!

  1. Hasegawa says:

    Funny timing, I was just looking into brain health last night (morning) around 4 AM.

    There’s a 2 minute video that I suggest watching. The whole video is quite interesting but the tie-in to this is in the very last part.

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