The joy of dancing

The word origin of dance

The word dance has been in English since the 12th century. It started as “dauncen” meaning to move the body or feet rhythmically to music. It came from Old French “dancier” (Modern French “danser”). Perhaps originating from a Low Frankish word “dintjan” meaning to tremble or quiver.

It replaced the Old English word “sealtian” (from a Latin word derived from “salire” meaning to leap). Native English dance words were derived from words meaning to jump or to leap and others such as “tumbian” (to tumble) and “hoppian” (to hop).

Dancing is essentially an expression of our joy of life. Based on its word history, we tremble, quiver, hop, tumble, jump, leap in response to music and other people. We dance in the streets to celebrate the end of wars.

Dance in Finland

You will all know the political storm that has erupted in Finland because their prime minister has been caught in the act of dancing.

Sanna Marin, Finnish PM has been shamed for dancing at a private party with her friends. The media wanting the public to be outraged by her inappropriate behaviour have had the opposite effect. What many people have seen instead was a young, professional woman letting her hair down doing what a lot of people do on the their evenings off. Now we are outraged by the conservative response to someone wanting a bit of work-life balance.

Dancing is not illegal. Not like holding parties at Downing Street during COVID lockdown. Dancing is not quite the criminal act of inciting a mob to attach their parliament building.

Where it not for dancing Elizabeth Bennett would never have launched into a romance with Mr Darcy; John Travolta would never have become famous; and most late 20th century music would be irrelevant.

Ms Marin was the world’s youngest PM when she came to power in 2019. She is currently managing Finland’s bid to join the Nato military alliance in response to neighbouring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Many people (mostly women) are posting videos of themselves dancing in solidarity with Ms Marin (#solidaritywithsanna). I won’t be doing that. My dancing model is Peter Garrett whose style of dancing was described by the Washington Post as looking like “a hulking marionette tossed in a crosswind”. Peter Garrett was also a politician.

Putin versus Marin

Because of Finland’s defiance of Russia in joining NATO, some journalists have made the comparison between Ms Marin leading Finland and Vladimir Putin leading Russia. Putin is a misogynist (also married with a mistress), a bullying autocrat, and portrays himself in shirtless machismo. He is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Ukraine.

Ms Marin who leads her country in defiance of Russia leads a coalition of parties in a democracy, is a successful young woman, a mother, and daughter of two female parents. She likes to dance with her friends on the weekend to escape the stress of her job.

I know who I want a party invitation from.