Tag Archive: Dancing

Mad World

I was just going through my “favorites” on YouTube and I ran across this dance (see below) from the most recent season (I think!) of So You Think You Can Dance.

This contemporary dance piece set to Gary Jules’ “Mad World” depicts a meeting between two very different men. One is poor, broken down, homeless and on the fringes of society. The other is a powerful business man in a tailored suit, who clearly has a purpose in his steps. Their situations are reflected in their dance styles and, in addition to the artistry of the dancing, there is a moment in the piece which speaks volumes about all of us. This moment shows us two men who have been in their own worlds, caught up in their own strikingly dissimilar stories, coming face-to-face only to realize that they were once friends.

After initial shock, they begin to dance in step, uniting through their shared past and in their common humanity. Only a short while thereafter, they go back to the way they were at the beginning of the dance – separated by situation, class, and economics.

How often do we turn a blind eye to others we encounter, remaining focused on our own “mad world” and situation? Do we ever dare to come face-to-face with others, or are we frightened of seeing amazing similarities in the face of someone apparently so different from us? Are we afraid to see ourselves in the face of someone we would prefer to keep at arm’s length (or even further away)? How can we begin to dance with others, uniting in love for one another as fellow humans?

Just a few thoughts before I head to homework land! 😉

© 2011. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

Two weekends ago, I saw Toy Story 3 with my fiancé and my youngest brother. This was after a wonderful day spent playing soccer (football to the rest of the world!) and hanging out. When I paused to think, I found myself feeling like I was re-living my middle and high school days. You see, most of that time in my life was spent playing soccer and helping to coach my brothers’ soccer teams. In addition, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were movies we all watched a lot. I think we may have even had most of them memorized! 😉

In any case, I started to reflect on how busy life has become now that I’ve “grown up” and how marvelous it was to let loose and play. Life is full of to-do lists and responsibilities, and can feel quite overwhelming and hectic, but what if we made time for having fun like we made time for responsibilities? What if our to-do lists included built-in relaxation and play time?

I wish my to-do list looked like this!

And what if we totally let go and just enjoyed ourselves, forgetting other people were watching?:

Stress is known to cause physical ailments and even to shorten lifespans, but play, relaxation and laughter reduce stress. In seminary and CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), we talk about self-care frequently – how to keep the various aspects of our lives (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, relational, etc.) in balance so that we do not burn out. In the ELCA, we have the “Wholeness Wheel” to keep us on track. While juggling these components may seem intimidating, being mindful of each of them and trying to be attentive to each area even if only for 10-15 minutes a day can help us pay attention to the whole picture.

I love to keep busy and be productive, but as I go through life, I’m realizing how important it is to play and to carve out time to have fun. It refreshes the soul and renews the spirit. It re-energizes us and fills us with joy so we can go out and do our work to the best of our ability. If we don’t take time to enjoy life, we become run down and are ultimately less effective. Having fun plans also gives us something to look forward to when we feel trapped in the mundane routines of life.

In short, it’s beneficial to spend time as we did when we were children: playing 🙂 So in the words of Woody from Toy Story, “So play nice!” Oh, and go see Toy Story 3 – it’s awesome!

© 2010. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

In case you were interested, I’ve included some more flash mob dance scenes and fun dance videos below. Enjoy and BE INSPIRED!! 😀

The original, T-Mobile commercial:

Dancing to the Sound of Music in Antwerp, Belgium:

Bollywood Hero
in Times Square:

This was the 24th season-opener for Oprah, featuring the Black Eyed Peas:

100 Single Ladies in Piccadilly Circus in London:

Why Don’t We Just Dance?!

I just saw the video below and besides being cute and entertaining, it made me think, “why don’t we just dance?”

I love Josh Turner for many reasons (his brilliant baritone and handsome features to name a couple!), but I think when I listened to this song this evening, I heard it with new ears. As I watched the peoples’ expressions as they saw dancers (in a so-called flash mob) break into fun moves into the middle of the mall, I realized that they were all in shock. They looked baffled and puzzled, and some of them even seemed concerned about the sanity of the dancers!

Although the onlookers seemed to enjoy it at the end, they were confronted with something out of the ordinary. Here were people who were not conforming to society’s norms – it is not normal to bust a move in the middle of a crowded mall and it is even more unusual for a group of people to do so! But Turner’s refrain poses a great question: “why don’t we just dance?” Why can’t we seem to cut loose? Why don’t we just give it a try?

When you’re dancing, your whole self is involved – your body, your mind, your spirit and emotions are all together. Even if you’re a terrible dancer, you can’t argue that this isn’t the case! The physical activity boosts endorphins and naturally makes you a little bit happier. More than that, I find that when I’m dancing, it’s easy to be in my own little world and if I’m having a good time (which I usually am), I’m not thinking about others’ impressions of my hideous dancing or awkwardness. I’m not trapped by my own self-consciousness.

I will be the first to admit that I have no shame. By that I mean I’m willing to make a fool of myself. Whether its acting on a stage, or playing a goofball to illustrate a point, or even dancing alone before the crowd in the bar has started to just to make sure I’m having fun, I have done some bold things! I’ve even been known to burst into song and dance in public and while that’s certainly not appropriate everywhere, I think sometimes we just need to loosen up a bit – to shake up the world and keep it on its toes.

Sometimes it seems we’re so worried about being socially acceptable or popular or about fitting in (thanks, peer pressure!) that we forget how much fun it is to just let go; we forget how freeing it is to truly be ourselves in the midst of the world. Maybe if we did let go, we’d encourage others to have a bit more fun and not to take things so seriously all the time. There are horrible troubles in this world and I’m not saying we should ignore them by living our lives in a Pollyanna-type state, but why can’t we bring a little joy and light to the world.

I guess what I’m trying to say is “why don’t we all just dance?!”

© 2010. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.