Whether you believe it or not, dancing is quite popular in Asian communities here, as popular as playing mahjong or watching K drama, especially among the middle aged and older individuals. I’ve been observing this for quite a while and it is quite surprising, considering the fact that dancing is not so popular back home. Why would it be so popular in New Jersey or New York? Why would so many Asians (middle aged and older) like to go dancing?
As a person who dislikes physical exertions in any form, I usually don’t go dancing at all, but I don’t object to other people’s preference in dancing. And this phenomenon was first brought to my attention by my friends’ and acquaintances’ complaints. One woman complained of her husband’s regular engagement in weekend dancing with other women. One man would complain of the inappropriateness of the free association between men and women during the ballroom dancing (the most popular form).
Most of the dancing enthusiasts are middle aged women or older women. Then one day an incident happened. My friend told me that she knew a couple who constantly bickered about the weekend dancing parties. The problem is that the wife loves to dance, but the husband doesn’t. The reluctant husband accompanied his wife to the dancing gathering for a couple of times and refused to go the third time since it was a torture to him. So the wife joins a group of wives to car pool to the dancing place. And this group has a dancing tutor, who’s middle aged, but still very youthful looking. He used to be a professional dancer in a big city in Asia, but after he came to America, he couldn’t find a job as a dancer anymore. So he opened a dance studio. He offered all kinds of classes to students young and old. He also offered group Zumba classes or things like that for fitness purposes. However what he enjoyed most is offering ballroom dancing parties in the community. One day, the above mentioned angry husband came to his studio and dragged his wife away. And it is said the husband spread a lot of negative comments about the immorality of the ballroom dancing, but it had no effect. People would agree to the begrudging husband that it is an immoral thing to do, but after the conversation, they would go dancing anyway, very much to the angry husband’s dismay.
The one who doesn’t dance would usually complain loudly that their spouse will leave them at home during the weekend and go dancing with his or her dancing buddies. And I really don’t know how a couple will resolve such a problem. The only thing I know is that it has been a perpetual issue in the community, but the dancing enthusiasm has never seen any sign of fading.
I guess it is all because Asian immigrants here don’t have many choices for entertainment. Our extended family stay overseas, which make it impossible to have regular gatherings with relatives. Most of us don’t have much disposable income (after paying mortgages and other monthly expenses) and most of the American entertainment options are too expensive for us. And attending a dancing party is one of the few enjoyable things to do that is also affordable. Actually I would prefer a book, but I guess my book suggestion is too bookish somehow.
And this brings me to the tragedy on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California two days ago. The gunman held a grudge against somebody or something, most likely he was against dancing. So he opened fire and killed ten people.It’s just awful to even think or write about it.
But people would continue to dance. Several years ago, a man in his late forties, a scientist, went home after a dance party and had a heart attack. He was too happy and he danced too much. So his heart gave away. Immediately people who were against dancing wrote articles and spread rumors that dancing is no good for one’s health, but to no avail. The dancing parties continued…
And shall we dance? Yes, we shall. Even if I don’t dance, I would like other people to indulge and enjoy themselves. It is the option between “shall we dance” and “shall we live in fear”, and people would usually choose the first one.