Friday, December 04, 2009

On the need for a Tandav list

I don't know about you, but my favourite movie/t.v. moments are when the surly and/or famous character feels compelled to dance.

It's always spontaneous. And the less pretty, the better. The characters never let on that they can or want to dance, but do anyway and it always either lightens a tense moment or builds a relationship, as happens in the Pulp Fiction dance scene or the "ABCs" sequence from Clerks II.

In several mythologies from around the world, dance plays an integral part in moral lessons and characterization. In Hans Christian Andersen's 'Red Shoes', dance is used as a form of punishment & purgatory. Shiva, in Hindu mythology, occasionally gives in to a creative/destructive tandav in his Nataraja avatar.

Hell, spontaneous dance is the only reason my mum watches Ellen. She loves it when celebrity guests bust a move. I still remember when she called right after watching Obama, still a senator then, groove his way onto the set.

I grew up on TCM movies, which meant Gene Kelley at least once every week. That scene from 'Singing in the Rain' is still iconic, not just because of Kelley's skill but because of how spontaneous he makes it look: it's the end of a long day, he's just kissed the girl. Stepping onto the platform, he takes a deep smiling breath, waves the cab away and begins one of the coolest sequences ever filmed.

And it's the let loose feature of these dance moments that get me. It's what happens to all of us: AM Radio clock in the bathroom when we wake up, the drive to work, whenever we have the house or conference room alone to ourselves. We've all had that air guitar-Mrs. Doubtfire-Dude looks like a lady moment. The problem is, those moments are getting rarer and rarer.

We're more social today than ever before: we know people on twitter, we meet them for coffee, there are pictures of us in their Facebook albums and every month, someone gets our number from a contact on LinkedIn and calls about the Next Big Start-Up Idea or a 10th class reunion. All well and good, but it means you and I get less me time.

Admit it: you've thought about getting to work early and dancing around the entire office like Mr. Pitt does in this commercial. If only because it means skipping the polite elevator rituals, the walk-to-desk drill and having to say hello to the co-worker who colour-coordinates his stationery.

We all need our Tandav moment. That sacred time when we shake off the weariness of repeatedly bad news and pet projects put off five years now. The time when we take our failures and successes and break it all down to the basics. No noise, just dance. Like Tom Cruise as Les Grossman does during the credits roll of Tropic Thunder, crumpin' to Ludacris' 'Get Back'.

Hell, yeah.

Incidentally, I have a playlist on my 'pod for this very purpose. Top 10 tracks?

Enur feat. Natasja- Calabria 2007
Khailash Kher- Babam bam
The Doors- Roadhouse Blues
Rage Against the Machine- Killing in the Name of
Clash- rock the casbah
CSNY- Carry On
Daft Punk- Technologic
DJ Unk- Walk it Out
Filter & the Crystal Method- Trip Like I do
Gogol Bordello- Wanderlust King

Who's on your Tandav list?