Men Who Dance

Nonfiction by | July 7, 2013

There is something about men who love to dance even if dance does not exactly love them back in return. Dancing somehow imbues a man with a certain magnetism that would not normally be present. Maybe there is something about his being lost to the rhythm and beat of the music that calls out to us. Even a ridiculous-looking dancer will elicit a bit of admiration for such bravery despite his lack of finesse. The line, “Dance like no one is watching; love like you will never get hurt,” is very telling of how dance could be a basic human indicator of how one lives life. The individual who is able to let go of his inhibitions and insecurities through dance is also the individual who is not afraid to make mistakes; the individual who embraces life with gusto.

My father is a 67-year old diabetic who can no longer walk properly because of neuropathy, a degeneration of the nerves. His feet are numb and he says it is as if his feet are made of wood. Nevertheless, when the opportunity arises, he still gamely takes to the dance floor and gives my mother a twirl or two. Disease and disability suddenly become invisible. This is also how Papa lives his life – with faith and passion as if nothing could go wrong. Or even if everything already goes wrong, he still finds meaning and reason to go on… and dance. Then the people around him, onlookers to his dance and his life, could not help but take on the rhythm and applaud him.

A friend of mine deeply entrenched in corporate life has a dancer for a boyfriend. Upon hearing of this, we could not help but raise questioning eyebrows at the wisdom of such a relationship. The guy belonged to a dance crew that performed street funk, pop, hip hop, and the like. When we met him, he was very self-assured and integrated with the group well. Girly gossip has it that this guy gives our friend ecstasy that has not yet been reached before. He turned out to be a wonderful doting father to their baby.

My cousin recently married a seemingly retiring and quiet guy. He seldom interacted with our family and came across as a bit of an antisocial. However, during their wedding, he shed off this image and surprised my cousin and the crowd with a very rousing dance performance. He shook his hips and wiggled his body to our delight. With that dance, our impression of him changed and we have become more hopeful of how well he will love my cousin.

However, there is one man that stands out for me. He was breakdance champion of Davao City in his younger years. He incorporated gay choreography with the more macho dance moves. He embraced the masculine and the feminine and is the better man because of it. The complicated steps challenged him and he pushed himself to a higher level. Dancing gave him intuitive rhythm which served him well as he proceeded to earn the coveted blackbelt in a martial art; intuitive rhythm also served him well as he maneuvered the pressures of a demanding career. In the bigger dance that is life, he pursued a woman who made him dance some more. He danced like no one was watching so he could captivate her. He loved like he would never get hurt, even if he did get hurt, so he could irrevocably have her. He really did have her and walked her down the aisle.

He married me, another complex choreography to dance.

Vida teaches Philosophy at the Ateneo de Davao University.

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