Shall We Dance?

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

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.

16 thoughts on “Shall We Dance?

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Haoyan. It is another senseless tragedy. Live and let live is not acceptable to so many. I agree with you, one has to make choices and living in fear is not one of them. To each their joy and satisfaction. When will people learn??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, a slow news day seems to be a good news day now since there are too many tragedies in the news. And the motive of the shooting is still unknown and people who know the shooters all fled without giving any information.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, dance more, dance more. I don’t dance myself, but I would love to see people dance. I saw advertisement of spin class around here, but I’ve never been to one. Actually I felt a little dizzy just to see the name of the class…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And nobody wants to talk about it since talking about it seems unlucky. The motive is still unknown and people who know him refuse to talk about it since it is so unlucky to be connected to it.


  2. I think dancing is also a way for bringing people together and as immigrants there may not be too many close friends or family around so dancing helps bring more people into your life. Because being an immigrant can get lonely.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That really was an unspeakable tragedy. Where I’m from in central Wisconsin there are a lot of descendants of Polish and German immigrants who regularly have polka dances. There are also a lot of people all over who enjoy square dancing which (I believe) is a pretty much American-created dance. I don’t do any of them myself but a lot of people enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such a horrific tragedy but people just shocked and nobody wants to talk about it, not even the motive, which is still unknown. I guess people just fled as soon as they know this person went crazy and went to the dance hall to shoot others. People don’t want to have connection with it and pretend that he or the event didn’t exist…I just checked out square dancing and it is quite interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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