Song of the Day

Huarache Lights by Hot Chip (2015)

“I got something for your mind, your body, and your soul.  Everyday of my life.”

I used to think I couldn’t dance.  I wasn’t wrong.  I had no rhythm, no grace, no silky smooth movement.  Just a combination of horrible, awkward gyrations and pauses.  I was unsure of myself, thinking too much.  When you play a sport, coaches will often tell their players to stop thinking and start trusting their instincts.  That’s why practice exists so they don’t have to think when the whistle is blown.  I was the dork on the dance floor who was thinking too much about what to do and whether or not other people were watching me.  I was focusing too much on the pitcher’s release point, my loose grip, the load up, squishing the bug, proper casting while pulling my back elbow in, and…swing and a miss — instead of “see the ball, hit the ball, dummy”.  Don’t overcomplicate it.  It’s dancing, who gives a shit?

I had to find my groove.  What was going to be comfortable for me when the lights were on and it was time to move?  Instead of thinking so much about trying to do crazy moves or, even worse, bullshit cliche moves, I decided to shorten up my swing, see the ball and hit the ball.  I started jumping.

That’s right, instead of rotating through lame dance moves and looking like an idiot, I just started jumping.  I can jump pretty well.  I’ve been doing it since I was like 2, so I have plenty of experience.  I don’t need to jump on one foot and risk losing my balance.  I can just jump up and down on two feet.  Think of jumping rope without the rope or the arm movements and that’s how I learned what worked for me.  Think of punk rock clubs from the early 1980s.  Those kids had no idea what they were doing, but they could jump up and down like motherfuckers.  It didn’t need to be a high jump, just something to get the blood flowing while keeping to the beat.

It worked for me right away.  Suddenly, I was able to comfortably access any dance situation and I didn’t have to think anymore.  Sure, I only had one move, but as long as I could do that one move well, no one noticed all I was doing was jumping.  And then, when the song slowed down and jumping would look awkward, I made a subtle shift.  Instead of actually jumping, I simply did the jumping movement, but my feet never left the floor.  It was all upper body and knee bends.  As soon as the song kicked in again — right back to getting air without having change a single thing in my technique.  See the ball, hit the ball, dummy.

I found my dancing groove over 20 years ago and it’s served me well.  I rarely get to hit the floor much anymore, but when I do, I stick to my jumping fundamentals.  If “Huarache Lights” is played at the next wedding I go to, you can bet your ass you’ll find me in the middle of the dance floor jumping around like an asshole and loving every bit of it.  And I’m not going to get crazy and do something like actually move my feet.  No way.  See the ball, hit the ball, dummy.

Categories: Song of the Day

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