DANCING IN THE STREETS by Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich’s DANCING IN THE STREETS is both a celebration of dancing and a condemnation of the authorities who are trying to prevent large groups of people from running amok in the interests of law and order.

Neuburg an der Donau, Bavaria, Germany – June 30, 2013: folk dance in medieval costumes at annual folk festival. Photo taken by Liv Kirill. Source iStockphoto.

This wonderful book is a potted history of dance, from its roots back in the misty past, through various ancient civilizations and up through the present day. Ms. Ehrenreich conveys how natural it was to dance and how this is a knack that many of us have lost today. People who either live in Northern Europe or can trace their ancestry from that part of the world have difficulty loosening up enough to dance even for a few minutes, let alone for hours or days. And since this somewhat Puritanical attitude has pervaded the world, all of us suffer from a lack of dancing in our lives.

I am in awe of how much research Ms. Ehrenreich has done for this book. Of course, dancing is not just about dancing. In the ancient past, it was used to cure people of sadness. Since the early Middle Ages, it seems to have taken on more political overtones, and people who danced often did so for reasons of social justice. In fact dancing impinged on so many aspects of people’s lives from religion (where people danced to their prayers) to the military, to sports. And what is fascinating is how Ms. Ehrenreich argues that relatively recently the young men and women of the 50s and 60s who would not sit down in their seats during a rock concert, were merely reaching back (albeit unconsciously) into a Dionysian past.

For those of you who have often wondered about dancing, and its various social incarnations, this book is for you. Five stars. #barbarehrenreich #dancinginthestreets

Sign up for wip updates

Subscribe to my Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join me on Patreon