Doesn’t Dance Well With Others
Every Thursday she attended a rock/metal club night. – she always got ready at home before travelling into the city to meet with friends before heading to the venue.
She looked forward to the ‘getting ready’ part of the night – her flatmates knew the ritual had begun as soon as she retired to her room and chose the soundtrack to becoming dance floor ready. Choosing what to wear was never an issue; combats, band t-shirt and paratrooper boots. She chose the combat trousers for comfort and practicality. She could put everything needed into the side pockets and nothing would be lost. It only occurred to her later that it was ironic that they had once been worn in battle.
Once inside the club she would greet friends, some of whom she hadn’t seen since last week. There was only ever time for small talk. As soon as the intro to a song she loved bounced off the walls, she was gone. She preferred to dance alone and it confused her when friends tried to dance with her. Her intention was not to be aloof – once on the dance floor there was only room for the music and the energy it unleashed. She didn’t dance like the other women out on the floor. They all found their peace in circles. She, on the other hand, leapt, stomped and exploded- utilising her whole body.
Countless times when dancing she experienced acts of aggression and violence aimed at her by men. Harmless emulation of a mosh pit? Not when the individual in question was the only person body slamming and specifically targeting her. Once she was knocked to the floor and had her fingers stamped on. He looked her in the eye as he did it. His group of friends turned their backs on her. She was not welcome within the pack. A pack that didn’t exist outside of their mindset and certainly didn’t exist within her own. She danced, that was all and that was that. So, she picked herself up and brushed herself off and she returned the following week.
She began to hone a method of dancing that allowed her to let herself go whilst also being aware of other dancers nearby. This served her well as it meant that she was less likely to unintentionally cause others injury and she was able to move or brace herself if or when a fellow dancer became affronted by her music of choice and/or her right to express herself in a way that came naturally to her.
One week there was a local band playing at the club. As she and a friend stood near the stage waiting for the band to start their set, her friend signalled for her to be aware of a guy standing to her right. Apparently he kept looking at her in a way that suggested he was less than happy to see her there. He looked over at her friend and gestured as if to say “What did you bring her for? No girls allowed!” She did not recognise the guy in question; as far as she could remember they had never met.
The band kicked off their set with one of her favourite songs and she erupted, taking the guy to her right by surprise. He took a few steps back to give her more space and looked suitably embarrassed when she turned to him at the chorus, a gesture of camaraderie, only to find that he didn’t know the words. Her energy didn’t go unnoticed by the band – the singer pointed at her and shouted “This next one is for you!” Her friend had to explain all of this to her afterwards – at the time she was completely oblivious, too busy dancing.