Stephen Fry Hates Dancing. Jo Roy Loves Dancing.
September 14, 2017 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Stephen Fry hates dancing. "I hate dancing more than I can possibly explain," he explains. Canada-born, Los Angeles-based dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Jo Roy (sorry, autoplay music) performs a spirited terpsichorean response to Fry’s monologue.
posted by goatdog (30 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
And so when people ask me what I think of pop music, or folk music, or rock and roll, or whatever other kind, I never quite know how to answer. I like listening to it, there is much of it lifts my spirits, that speaks to my deeps, that cleans me out, cheers me up, flies me away. But as for going to concerts, being in rooms where it is playing, hearing it on television, at parties, in the street, having it pour from hairdressers, clothes shops and bars — well no thank you.

To this end, I agree with Stephen Fry even as someone who, left to my own devices, will dance from time to time.

There is a certain type of person who loves to dance and cannot fathom how you can have fun at a party or a pub if you're not in the middle of the dance floor. They push and shove their way into space you've created for yourself at concerts and target you at weddings for being a party pooper. Their form of partying is the only form of partying allowed and they are the gestapo enforcing the right kind of fun. Those people ruin parties and concerts for me and are why, increasingly as I get older I avoid those things.
posted by notorious medium at 7:45 AM on September 14 [17 favorites]


I saw Stephen Fry dance once. He'd been playing Malvolio in Mark Rylance's theatre production of Twelfth Night, and the whole cast was required to perform a little jig together at the play's conclusion. Fry placed himself discretely at the back of the stage for this, but seemed to be doing fine.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:46 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


That was wonderful.
posted by agatha_magatha at 7:50 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I can trust someone who doesn't dance, but only up to a point.
posted by maxsparber at 7:52 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


I don't know about all that. Stephen Fry has done an impersonation of Michael Jackson. - he starts dancing about 2 minutes in.
posted by vacapinta at 7:55 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


I can understand where he's coming from. I hate to dance, mostly because I feel that I'm about as graceful and on-tempo as a bowl of jello with parkinsons. The only thing I hate to do more than dance is sing. So, I guess there's no future for me on Broadway or even community theater.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:08 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I love music. I love to watch good dance. My wife and most of our friends like to dance. Me, not so much.

It's not dislike of dancing, it's dislike of me dancing. I'm not very good and I can never stop being self-conscious about it. It's an effort and a pressure and just not an enjoyable thing for me.

Have pity on me; in two days, to celebrate a landmark birthday for my wife, I'm throwing a dance.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:09 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I used to not dance.

Now I dance.

The trick was realizing two things:
1. Nobody's actually judging you while you dance. (And if they are, fuck them.)
2. The more you do it, the better you get.

If you're dance-shy, remember these two things if you want to try:
1. If your butt isn't moving, you're not really dancing.
2. Move your butt on the two and the four

That said, most modern dance music is hot garbage. I like to dance to classic 80s new wave and synth stuff, and to modern music done in similar styles. Find the music that makes you want to move your butt and try it. In the privacy of your home, to start.
posted by SansPoint at 8:12 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


There is a certain type of person who loves to dance and cannot fathom how you can have fun at a party or a pub if you're not in the middle of the dance floor.

I can trust someone who doesn't dance, but only up to a point.

And here, folks, we have a sterling display of notorious medium's point.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:14 AM on September 14 [11 favorites]


It's funny, but my feeling is almost the opposite, not in regards to the music, as I too tend to prefer "non-dance" music to popular music, but dance by people who love doing it is amazing to watch. I can't think of many human activities that exhibit more raw pleasure at living than seeing someone completely involved in a dance, whether planned to excruciating detail, like Rogers and Astaire, or just caught up in the moment as I witnessed at a dancer friend's wedding when the whole dance floor was filled with people who danced professionally, but were showing off for fun. One of the most enjoyable things I've ever seen a group of people engaged in together.

Me though? I hate dancing. I got no rhythm at all and don't bodily feel the music. I've had no problem giving impromptu speeches to large crowds, winging it as I went along, but the idea of trying to dance in front of even a tiny audience fills me with the deepest dread. To sum up, dance is a land of contrasts where it might mean something if you don't got that swing.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:16 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I like singing, I like music, but I don't understand dancing, or why people like it. It mystifies me. I appreciate that other people enjoy it, but I have absolutely no interest in it myself. I don't think I'm beat deaf, just missing whatever makes people like dancing.

The trick was realizing two things:
1. Nobody's actually judging you while you dance. (And if they are, fuck them.)
2. The more you do it, the better you get.


This isn't shyness about dancing badly, but a complete and profound inability to comprehend why I'd want to dance at all.
posted by zamboni at 8:27 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Find the music that makes you want to move your butt and try it.

But I don't WANT to move my butt, that's the thing that dancers don't seem to get.

I absolutely adore music. it's honestly about the only thing I live for - in fact, had things gone differently in my youth I would probably have become a professional musician. I love listening to all sorts of music and I have no problems feeling and keeping a rhythm. I even enjoy watching good dancers do their thing.

BUT...I have zero internal desire or impulse to dance to any of it no matter how catchy or popular it is with people who do dance. There's nothing in my head or heart that says, "Ooh, this is so good I gotta dance to it!" It's just not my thing, just like I'm not into, say, opera or off-roading. Nobody gives me grief for those choices, why is my simply not wanting to dance so hard to accept?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:30 AM on September 14 [13 favorites]


Find the music that makes you want to move your butt and try it.

But I don't WANT to move my butt, that's the thing that dancers don't seem to get.


Square dancing and German style folk dancing are like being part of a big clock and there's minimal to no ass action (at least in my limited experience). Individualistic dancing isn't for me, but having somebody tell me what to do while a bunch of other people do the exact same thing is a pretty good evening.
posted by mattamatic at 8:42 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


That video is AWESOME, by the way. I enjoyed the choreography, the performance, and was in awe of her control and artistry.

I still don't think that _my_ dancing the night away is ever really going to be my idea of a fun evening. But hope springs eternal...
posted by Artful Codger at 8:44 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


There is a middle ground. I LOVE to dance even though I'm not, like, professional-level by any means. AND, I understand and accept that there are people who DON'T love to dance. That's okay! You be you!

What I DON'T accept is people who won't let non-dancers just be non-dancers. They don't have to like it, they don't have to "try this other kind of thing that isn't dancing; you'll love it!", they don't have to justify or explain themselves to anyone.

It's OKAY if someone else doesn't like the thing that you like. It takes away exactly zero of your enjoyment of said thing.
posted by cooker girl at 8:46 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


"You look stupid if you dance. You look stupid if you don't dance. You might as well dance." My friend's grandfather.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:08 AM on September 14 [9 favorites]


To reiterate, it's not always about fear of looking stupid, sometimes it's about simply not being inclined to.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:15 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


They don't have to like it, they don't have to "try this other kind of thing that isn't dancing; you'll love it!", they don't have to justify or explain themselves to anyone.

My point was only that moving your butt and dancing can overlap, but they don't have to. It's like cilantro and Mexican food and yeah it's totally groovy if you like one, both, or neither.
posted by mattamatic at 9:29 AM on September 14


I used to hate dancing, then I transitioned.

This response video is brilliant.
posted by odinsdream at 9:56 AM on September 14


My point was only that moving your butt and dancing can overlap, but they don't have to.

I honestly wasn't trying to call you out; just a coincidence!
posted by cooker girl at 10:18 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


2. Move your butt on the two and the four

Yes, you hear the 2 and the 4. I do not. It's just a cacophony. I have great body control in sport. Not on rhythm...I do not hear it.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:30 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I dad dance badly.

I am one of the olds at the back of the club next to the sound guy who dances ten minutes out of every hour and drinks diet coke.

I love to see people dancing well and people dancing badly. I love wallflowers, too. Seeing live* music with other people is very healthy for me.

* even when live means two digital turntables.
posted by poe at 10:41 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


loved the video! she is so precise!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:20 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


If you don't want to dance, then don't dance. I just ask that you don't not-dance on the dance floor, please.

For me, good music induces a real physical reaction in me, and it makes me want to move in some way or another. It's why I dance, and it's why I even do competitive air guitar. (That's a thing! YouTube it!)
posted by SansPoint at 12:09 PM on September 14


I can trust someone who doesn't dance, but only up to a point.

If they don't dance, well, they're no friends of mine.

I used to say that I couldn't dance, but this is untrue for anyone with gross motor skills. I can't dance well, is the thing. After a drink or two, I'll do it anyway now.

When I was a kid, I had a dance teacher who made me feel chubby and useless, so I thought dance was just something that was permanently beyond me, like sports or math. So I decided to be a snob about it instead, like Fry, and the bright spark in the comments of this video who blows a bunch of evo-psych fart noises in the air and says that dancing is "like watching an Attenborough documentary." But I dearly wish I had seen someone like Leslie Hall when I was a kid, someone who demonstrates that dancing doesn't have to be about fitting some perfect anatomical image, that it could be about joy.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:01 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


bringing up children in an environment without participatory singing and dance is a form of neglect that far too many white people suffer from
posted by idiopath at 5:56 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


It's the 90's, in Vancouver. I work in a restaurant, usually done between 12:30, 1am. We have a mixed crowd of hetero and homosexual employees so we go to different places after work. One night we decide to go the Odyssey, a gay nightclub (it closed a bunch of years ago but has since reopened). The Odyssey was smallish, usually pretty busy, small dancefloor. But it had a raised bit against the wall that ran along the dance floor, only three or four feet wide, and that's one of the things that made this place special. That and the cage/shower dancing, but that's another story.

I don't dance. I'm totally self-conscious and just not very good or imaginative about it - dancing is a chore. I love to watch people dance, but in a gay nightclub when you're not gay, this can lead to some interesting, if not awkward interactions, and that's yet another story.

Anyway, there's this guy on his own up on the raised part and he is dancing up a storm. He's totally amazing: fluid motions that make sense as opposed to mindless jerking and twitching of various body parts. Every move works with the music. Every part of his body moves at just the right time and in just the right way. This guy dances as well as any professional that I've seen, maybe better. I can't take my eyes off of him. I'm mesmerised and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I talk with him later and he says he never took dancing lessons. He says, "Close your eyes, feel the music, let it move you, don't pay attention to your body, your body will pay attention to the music all on it's own." He smiles, thanks me for the compliments, wishes me a good night and disappears into the crowd.

I still don't dance. My dancing is comparable to a branch that will break in a strong wind instead of bending. My wife loves to dance and hates the fact that I don't and frankly, I hate the fact that dancing is a chore for me. Sometimes, on rare occasions when the moon and the sun and the stars are positioned just so, and the temperature is right, and I've had just the right amount and quality of sleep, I find myself moving to the music in ways that are unusual for me but that might actually be considered to be half-decent dancing. Then I notice and it's over.

It's unfortunate that Mr. Fry has such strong feelings about dancing, if they're real. Real feelings or not, Jo Roy had a wonderful response to it, and she was great at performing it.
posted by ashbury at 8:42 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


It's one thing to not enjoy doing something. I don't enjoy most sports, watching or playing. But actively hating something that gives millions of people such joy is...a little off, to me.
I mean, I also hate going out in nature. The views just don't make up for the bugs and lack of toilets for me. But I mostly like the fact that other people get so much enjoyment out of it, as long as they're not trying to convince me to go. But I guess I wouldn't get paid a lot of money to write and say socially acceptable things like "live and let live" - you get paid to say outrageous things like "dance disgusts me."
posted by greermahoney at 12:39 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I hugely dislike that thing where people are all like "Come on, join in to the thing, you'll enjoy it ahh"
and then everyone yells at you until you do.

This occurs mostly related to dancing.
I am happy for you to dance. I am happy not to dance.
I am not happy having you all assuming that I would be happier dancing, or that I'll like it if I'd only join in or am somehow just too socially embarrassed to do it. (I am an excellent dancer and look like a beautiful crystal swan should I choose to do it.)

Listen to people when they tell you what they want and what they don't.
In almost every other thing we rightly vilify people who try to force others to do something they don't want to do, but with dancing, people seem to assume that we don't really mean it when we say "no, I'm fine out here"

I stand with notorious medium and Greg ace.
We're fine out here. You go enjoy yourselves.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:40 AM on September 15


bringing up children in an environment without participatory singing and dance is a form of neglect that far too many white people suffer from

well tbh I remember the participatory singing and dance involved in being a white child, and the quantity of it was not the problem.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:47 AM on September 15


« Older Oh What a Feeling! (SLYT)   |   Cassini's final mission ends on 15th September Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.