Remember the Dance

London – March 1989

We are in some sort of small warehouse. It’s pitch dark, except for black light glowing on Day-Glo painted walls. I’ve got a bad sinus infection. My head hurts so badly I can hardly see. Manuela and I are the only girls in this place. A bunch of guys dressed in baggy pants and fluorescent high top trainers are dancing like weirdos. Spastic shadows twitching to the worst music I’ve ever heard.

“This is acid music,” Manuela says. Her eyes blaze. “This music is God.”

I sigh in annoyance. Rome, Venice, Paris, and now London. We are getting on each others’ nerves, but we are stuck with each other until tomorrow morning when I go back to LA. I have to be at the airport three hours early because the terrorists who blew up the PanAm plane are threatening to blow up another one this weekend, Easter weekend. I just want to go back to the hotel and sleep.

Manuela grabs my hand and leads me through back alleys in search of some club called Heaven. We wait in line for a long time. We are dressed in the funky clothes we bought on High Street. She’s wearing bellbottoms that are so ugly I can hardly look at them. She says my leather hat and leather boots with skull buckles are outdated. So American. “No one listens to hard rock anymore.” She stifles a snicker. “That’s for old people.”

The music throbs around us as we meander endless corridors. Up and down. Around and around. Manuela is on the hunt for some musician she’s got a crush on. S’express. Bomb the Bass. People and groups and music I’ve never heard of. “There he is!” Manuela gasps. She walks up to a small-boned man of Asian descent. He is gay, but she’s hopelessly smitten. 

I stand back while she talks to these famous people. They look at me with respect when she tells them I’m from Michigan. I guess this music actually started in Detroit. Figures. The musical bombardment is relentless. Sadistic. I clasp my battered head in my hands and stifle a scream.

“This crap will never become popular in America,” I growl, as we finally make our way to the exit. “It sucks!”

“You’ll love it, too. One day.” Her deep brown eyes glitter. “You will always remember this night.

I sigh and shake my head. The vow to myself is etched in steel. Never, ever. 

Two years later, I sought out the merry asylum. My London story was a source of envy to my friends, who were fanatics about this new music. They heard a rumor, which beckoned us on a quest for the ticket seller. We found him at a tiny party store in Hollywood. The middle-aged black man screened us with nonsensical questions. “Are you sure you know what you know?” He bugged his eyes out and pulled his lips into a carney grin. 

I tried to keep a grip on my escalating buzz. “You’re totally messing with me.”

“Just trying to figure out if you finished high school.” He winked at me and gave us the precious treasure map. 

It led us to an abandoned warehouse in South Central LA. Interspersed in the vast crowd were people standing with arms crossed over their heads. “That means they’re selling X,” one of my friends whispered. “Ecstasy.” 

We passed them by, preferring the natural source of bliss we had ingested earlier. Smiley faces and stuffed animals and Dr. Seuss hats. It was a carnival of love. I believe it was that night when the music took hold forever. The repetitive beats brought me to a trance. It burrowed deep inside my cells, the friendliest of parasites. 

Just before sunrise, flashing red lights surrounded the warehouse. Sirens. We scattered into the streets, breathless with glee. 

I danced whenever I could, which wasn’t often. Work and responsibilities and financial challenges kept me from going out on a regular basis. Smaller clubs were my preference. The deejays were enigmatic figures hidden in booths. They were genies who wove tracks together into a vibrant tapestry. A magic carpet ride. The clubs were dark, smoky, spartan. They were simply receptacles for bodies moving together in the dark. There is a special intimacy in sharing a dance floor with strangers. Deep and warm, but without physical contact, or even acknowledgment. We shared a space, but our awareness was turned within. Glowing glances were exchanged when we caught the same groove and surfed it to shore. That shared euphoria. No other intoxicant was necessary. The dance floor is the only place where I’ve truly felt oneness with humanity.

Poznan, Poland. 2007. He took the stage and exclaimed. “I am Polish Electro Boogie Boy!” There are so many other characters that I will always remember. Nameless and their faces are obscured with time, but their dance was unforgettable. You can know so much about a person by the way they allow themselves to move. They way they inhabit their bodies.

The places I’ve danced. Nights that became mornings. Gatherings that brought me home to myself. In my days of deepest depression, I believe that it saved me. London. LA. Berlin. Chicago. Budapest. Noumea. Rio de Janeiro. Phoenix. And Sydney.

Sydney, Australia – September 1995

In Sydney, we clean up. We splurge on new clothes. Dig our makeup out of the bottom of our stinky backpacks. Unfurl. We made it. 

“A toast.” Maya holds out her palm to reveal three tiny squares of paper. “To surviving Papua New Guinea. And to Sydney. Magnificent Sydney!”

Amelia, our Australian friend, places one on my tongue, communion-like. The body of infinity. Forever and ever. Amen. Slow, deep breaths. Focus. With courage and respect. A new expedition looms ahead. Inter-dimensional. Be ready. 

“Peace, Dearie. It will be beautiful.” Amelia takes my hand. “Let’s go dance.” 

Into a labyrinth of murky rooms. Psychedelic frescoes shimmer on black walls. A tingle, then radiance. And away I go. A giggle moves through me. This effervescence. So different from the tainted, bone-jarring LSD trips of yesteryear.

Maya and Amelia whirl away. Into the shadows. A gaunt man wearing a yellow polyester blazer and red pants sits down next to me. He is surely younger than I am, but his eyes hold the weariness of eons. He spins a glittery plastic scepter in his hand. Round and round. Others of his kind slouch against walls and huddle in corners. Eyes downcast. Rumpled velvet and smeared makeup. Carnival carnage.

“Who are you?”

“We are the Vibe Tribe.” He lays the scepter across his lap. “Some call us The Ferals. A band of futuristic gypsies. We’ve spent the last few years on the road together.”

Tendrils of music swirl around me and seep into my pores. Liquid resonance. My heart swells and ascends. 

“This morning we will pack up our tipis and leave for Tasmania. And then it’s over. We are weary of the road, each other, the dance. The Ecstasy has stopped working. We tried.” A heavy pause. “Have we, as humans, lost the ability to band together forever?” He shakes his head.

Crestfallen and bewildered souls. A girl wearing a white dress with big black polka dots stares out at the world through spooky black-rimmed eyes. Her manic staccato cackle is consumed by the music. 

Maya’s whisper in my ear. “She scares me.” I turn my head to respond, but she’s dancing with Amelia on the other side of the room.

Feral boy speaks. “Some will wander forever alone, unable to re-integrate into society. That’s the price paid for searching. The longer you’re away, the harder it is to return. Maybe it’s better to die than to live in the past.”

I take his hand. “Dance with me.”

He pulls his hand away. “It’s all over for me.” He crumples against the wall and closes his eyes.

I sweep my eyes around the room. A slight, shiny distortion, like cling wrap, warps my view. Behold the membrane that separates me from other humans. The wall of There. Glide onto the dance floor. Into Maya and Amelia’s open arms. I smile into the face of a man with long black hair and limpid brown eyes. The shimmer of his hands down my back. The slow, deep seep of his essence into the cells. The eternity of our friendship unspools before us. He looks down at his hands and then back at me in wonder. My languid pirouette. The music throbs an obscene warmth though me. I lift my arms in surrender. Undulate myself into dissolution. Whatever you are out there, I am yours. Take me. The membrane dissolves. 

Tentacles of sound pull the dancers tighter in its grasp. Polka Dot Girl staggers to the dance floor. Spastic, jerky dance moves. Ferocious eyes. A battered marionette struggling to break free. Those who seem wild are often just imprisoned by a different force. 

I close my eyes. And see. My atoms are iridescent aqua blue spheres. I am the sky. They morph into tiny blue bubbles that float away on my laughs. I am joy. I am no more.

Drops of pink dawn drip through the cracks in the heavy black curtains. From the softest illumination. The music’s velvety tendrils recede. Back to the luminous abyss from whence they came. We shake ourselves off. Reassemble. 

Feeling at home in solitude is a gift. I gather this to my heart in a gentle embrace. Thank you.

The Vibe Tribe coalesces. A bouquet of wistful wilted wildflowers. They pause in the doorway. A silhouette of resignation. And then they are gone. 

The 1990s became the 2000s. Then came the organization. The marketing and promotion. The plastic surgery, the solarium tans, the skimpy costumes. The pouting. White shirts and waxed chests on the male variety. The deejays became superstars. The turntables morphed into computer programs. The awareness shifted to the exterior. The music became a stagnant pond, sub-genres blended together to appeal to the masses. The waves went flat. The soul took refuge underground. I lost the motivation to find it. It was inevitable. 

Vapors of laser phosphorescence dissipating in the sunrise. Always a beautiful, bittersweet sight. It was time to go home. Satiated and covered in dust and smoke and dried sweat. Grateful and already wistful. You could buy the music, play it at home or in the car, but the vibe was impossible to replicate. You could dream of next time. Eventually, it would be the last time. We are all middle-aged now. Those of us who danced together all those years ago. It doesn’t matter what became of us. We are still grooving together in the vast arena of memory. The dance continues. For eternity.

60 thoughts on “Remember the Dance

  1. You definitely had a different experience with music than I did Julie! I loved dancing in clubs to disco during the 80s, and had many wonderful experiences, but never got into rave or punk music. I like your words about once you seek, you never really integrate back into society. That has been mostly true of my spiritual journey. I’ve regained some connection with ordinary life as I’ve stopped seeking improvement, enlightenment or any other goal to reach. I occasionally find that ecstatic connection to music and soul at home dancing with myself. Dance on!

    • Yes, I definitely had some wild times. 🙂 🙂 Enough to give me some fantastic memories and very important insights, but not too much to have done any damage. Raves and early electronica music kind of ruined me for other music when it comes to dancing. Once it got into you, it really got into you. I’m sure there was some harmonic experimentation going on. Like you, I still dance at home, alone. Earphones in and a big smile on my face. 🙂 Dance on, Brad!

  2. I love reading your memoir. While I was not a fraction as cool as you, and never fell in love with that music, after enough to drink I’d dance to anything and the rare times when I let myself go – the ecstasy of it. As always, you capture it beautifully.

    • I was never cool. Haha. What I loved about that music and atmosphere was that you could totally be a dork and no one noticed. 🙂 Of course, until the masses got ahold of it. Losing yourself in dancing is incredibly therapeutic. I’m happy to hear you allowed yourself that pleasure.

  3. Loved this, Julie! It took me back to my college years and club hopping around various towns and a few trips to clubs in Windsor. My adventures were not as interesting as yours but fun none the less because of the invisible line that connected strangers to each other on the dance floor.
    Miss you girl!!! I’ll call this week! It’s been a minute! lol
    Love you!!

    • I’m happy to hear that it took you back to a happy time, dear.🙂 Maybe we’ll have to go dancing in Detroit one day…if it’s ever allowed again.

  4. LOL, I’ve always been a terrible dancer, awkward as a frog out of water. 🤷‍♂️

    Loved this observation: “A battered marionette struggling to break free. Those who seem wild are often just imprisoned by a different force.”

  5. My dislike of large crowds, strobing lights, and loud sounds initially caused a visceral reaction to this read, Julie, but having experimented with acid long ago, I could sense where you were going, where you ended up. My taste of mind-altering drugs happened in the winter wilderness. The sounds and colors of ice and the movement of snow were infinitely wondrous. That feeling of becoming hyper-attuned and one-with is something I’ve never forgotten… and miss enough that if given the opportunity, I’d do again. It’s interesting to me, how worlds apart I am from the experiences of this post and yet could become fully immersed. Beautiful writing. ❤

    • Thank you, Diana. 🙂 I was never a huge fan of crowds, which is why I preferred smaller clubs. The energy that went along with techno/house music was so positive, so friendly. I believe it was important for me, as an introvert, to experience feeling welcome among so many strangers. Your snow trip sounds heavenly. It probably comes as no surprise that I’ve experimented with different psychedelics. With all of the new research on their use for various forms of mental illness, I realized it was time to “come out” with this post. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they’ve helped me with my depression and anxiety. The insights I received were priceless. I always used them responsibly and with intent and respect. I hope that the research will continue and the field of psychology will evolve to include these important, and non toxic, medicines.

      • I assumed so from your post, which is why I shared my experience. I couldn’t agree more that there needs to be more openness and research. People are so afraid of what they don’t understand, that they refuse to learn and perhaps miss the beauty and possibility that comes with knowledge. ❤

  6. You awakened hidden memories of clubs and their music and that sense of abandon and belonging that is such a part of dancing with others in a dark room. You say it so beautifully: “You can know so much about a person by the way they allow themselves to move. They way they inhabit their bodies.”

    • So much of dancing is simply allowing your body to move as it wishes. We aren’t even aware of how much we restrain our bodies. The euphoria comes from letting all of that trapped energy flow. Pure heaven. Dance on, dear. 🙂

  7. A magical insight into a world I never knew – I came far too late to the party. Already approaching middle-age in 1989, I would have been accused of the dreaded “Dad Dancing” 🙂
    On a separate topic, have you ever considered e-book/Kindle publishing for your memoir? I am interested in the pros and cons quite ignoring the desire not to yet further enhance Amazon’s profits.
    All the best, R

    • I can’t help but picture you as the British Electro Boogie Boy. 🙂 🙂 I’ve seen senior citizens tear up the dance floor to this very same music. In Budapest, especially. I was beyond impressed, and I aspire to be like them. That was the best thing about the smaller underground clubs – no one gave a rip how old you were or what you looked like. It was fabulous!

      I don’t know about e-publishing yet. But I do know that I won’t do it through Amazon. I refuse to even buy from that company. I may use Lulu.com to publish instead.

      Hope all is well, Robin, and your winter is still white.

  8. Music, dance, and illicit substances were a powerful combo, one that is so deep in my past that I almost forget what it was like. Almost …Truth be told, the only time I could allow myself to dance and move in a completely uninhibited way in public was while altered, and over time, I just didn’t want so much altering. Or at least the more serious versions of it. Same with the crowds and the volume; one day, they were addictive; the next, they were cloying. You stuck around longer and got in deeper, but I enjoyed seeing it all from your perspective! Like you and others here, I still occasionally dance on, at home, alone!

    • I agree that the desire to be so altered and in such an intense atmosphere fades after a while. I never needed anything but the music and warm vibes to enter the trance. I’ve always been uninhibited in that way. But the times when I did indulge were really wonderful. It’s fabulous that you’re still dancing!

  9. A profound look back with a brilliant connection to the present, to the dance that continues. Living in an isolated mining town in Northern Manitoba, our dances were held in nature, around a campfire in both summer and winter. Our only connection to the outside world was through the Radio Canada. Our TV programs were two hours per night and two weeks late. Even so, music came to us and we celebrated. Even the ancients have a deep understanding of dance. As Plato noted, “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” I am glad that we are on the dance floor together, Julie. It is a good place to find ourselves and our place within a vibrant community. Hugs and more hugs coming your way….

    • Your formative years sound so fascinating. Dancing in nature. That’s the purest form there is. I’d go so far as to say that the ancients especially had a deep understanding of dance and its effect on the soul. I believe that electronic music brought many people back to a “primitive” tribal state. It certainly felt that way to me. A tribe that dances together, stays together. Hugs back at you, dear Rebecca.

  10. Catching the same groove and surfing it to the shore… 🙂 🙂 There’s nothing like losing yourself in dance, together or alone. I miss those days, Julie. But I was never as bendy as the young men in your video 🙂

  11. Absolutely brilliant Julie. I was with you all the way, living your memories and reliving my own – the coke, the speed, the acid, the wild pulsing. For me it was disco (!) with a boyfriend who played in the band (it made me sooo cool!) and then later the dark halls of far northern bars and folk festivals – not acid music but country rock and roll (of all things) – either way it had the floor hopping, that same intimacy you describe so eloquently of the dark dance floor, the glowing spontaneous glances. A lot of the musicians were my friends, and the electric connection between the band and the pulsating bodies was a real thing, the two so intertwined they could not be separated. Thanks for bringing it all back!
    Alison

    • Music and dancing are pure magic. I’m not surprised you had such vibrant experiences. Country music…that’s one genre I’ve got a visceral aversion to. I’m delighted I could resurrect beautiful memories for you, Alison. Dance on.

      • I too had a visceral aversion to Country music until I went to live in the far north of Canada (Yukon) and started cooking in wilderness hunting camps and living in very small towns, and was surrounded by it. I discovered not old fashioned bleeding heart whiny country but rockin’ country-rock, and blues-rock. I got converted out of sheer survival 🙂

  12. This was never quite my scene, but I have some peripheral sense of it. A really good friend to this day was my next door neighbor in college, and on probably a weekly basis I would be stumbling out the door at 7 AM to make it to some physics or engineering lecture that for reasons unbeknownst to man were slotted for 7:30 AM… and she would literally be pulling in to the curb after a 2 hr drive home from Atlanta where she had been dancing all night. I did make it to one or two parties with her and had a great time… That sensation of dissolution can be so beautiful…

    Michael

    • I’m glad to hear that you were able to experience it. Despite the sadistic university classes.🙂 It’s so therapeutic, on so many levels, to just let go. Hope you’re having a beautiful winter, Michael.

  13. You have danced the world away my dear. Growing up in Africa, dancing was a natural part of my life. So if I count well, I have danced on 3 continents… Haha.
    In your current neck of the woods they must do some sort of square dance?
    Comment ça va? Are you and your family somewhat in line for vaccination? Some of our friends have already got their first shot. I don’t know when our turn will come. I just got confirmation that our Paris tickets from last year have been transfered to this coming July. Hopefully we will see the Seine again. I’ll say hello for you.
    Fais bien attention à toi. Biz.

    • I’ve traveled to 5 continents but danced on 4. Never have danced in Asia. There’s no traditional dance here. Just drunken bar dancing, which I avoid.
      These days, my dancing is done at home or in the woods.

      Ca va relativement bien, merci.🙂 I’m not interested in getting the vaccine. I hope you are able to visit Paris this year. Hope all is well in your world, cher dancin’ Mzungu! Bises.

  14. Sounds (pun intended :D) as a great experience, almost like the lyrics of a crazy song (a last dance in Tasmania) to free yourself. When kid our dances were choreographies; afterwards when I studied closer to the coast, Latinos, even metal fans, always dance salsa; whit its mandatory contact with another person and your skill is evaluated to be considered to be a potential partner. It is funny to see but for somebody as me, that cannot hear the rhythm or some nights would prefer just to have fun instead of dating, it always was stressful. In Cuzco there is a disco where locals and tourists go, and besides skin color you can differentiate them by the way the dances are just individual fun or by couples. It is a treasure that you got to enjoy something that at first was different and made it yourself, I am sure there is very nice music these days but the little I hear sounds uniform, when musical culture before the internet was more isolated there was a bit more of fun to discover underworlds unique and diverse, places you would reach thanks to the suggestion of a friend of a friend or so. I am happy to have read that unique place you knew with all our senses, amiga : )

    • You are so right about the thrill of discovering something underground, unique, not for the mainstream. The internet killed a lot of that, but there are still treasures out there. It’s funny how dancing is often used as a courtship ritual. I wouldn’t have enjoyed that either! I sure hope you are doing well, amigo, and that summer has been good to you.

  15. I let Prodigy run for a while after this song. Never a raver. They were borderline for me, the tsuuump-tsuuuump style I could still bear and even more, love. They played in Hala Tivoli in my Ljubljana when I was really short on cash so I answered a question in a magazine to win a ticket. I knew that I would. And I did. As a result, my neighbour had to bear the crashing of my old glasses against her wall for a while accompanied by “Break and Enter”. Thank you for this throwback.

    • The thing about electronica is that there’s a very fine line between being completely mesmerized and extremely aggravated. I can’t listen to the vast majority of it, especially what’s out there nowadays. But when you catch the groove that connects to your soul… That’s probably why it splintered into so many sub-genres. Different bpm (beats per minute) and harmonics for different affinities.

      And Prodigy…I almost saw them in 1998. That’s fabulous that you won a ticket to see them. Would still love to see them, but now with Keith gone (RIP)… wouldn’t be the same. Their sound became edgier as they evolved, but it never fails to get me moving. Underworld and Gusgus are two others that had wide success, but never lost their uniqueness. They never fail to bring me back to a state of bliss. If I had the chance to see either, I’d totally get my 52 year old ass there and let loose again. 🙂

  16. What a great insight into your world. We lived in Montreal at the end of the 80s and we danced more in the old hippie style, mostly outside in parks or in nature around the city. There were rave-parties as well, these were more for those people we saw as the establishment. We were more on ‘sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’.
    Thanks for sharing.
    All the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  17. That’s quite a journey and memoir, Julie.
    London 1989 = Heaven can wait
    LA 1991= Never say never again
    Poznan 2007 = I did it my way
    Sydney 1995 = You can’t stop the music. Now did we cross paths in that year? It’s possible, though I doubt I was part of the Ferals. 🙂 Keep on dancing. Stay happy.

    • Very clever chapter titles, Draco-san. Maybe we did cross paths. I suspect you were undercover in The Ferals. 🙂 🙂 I did take in some tourist sites there and went shopping (and dancing!) in Darlinghurst. Earlier that evening we saw the drag queen show at The Imperial. Magnificent. Then, the morning after, we watched Bad Boy Bubby. Given our state of mind, that was definitely a memorable cinematic experience. Haha. I have such good memories of Sydney. Monsieur Riso and I were also there for NYE 2000. But, unlike the million or so others who were around us, we were totally sober! Which was a very good thing, because, as I’m sure you remember, there were no public toilets to be found anywhere… Hope you are well and happy and have had a good summer.

  18. Reading this was like being in a trance Julie. I was never into rave, still into alternative and rock music as the 80s turned to the 90s and then into the ‘high energy’ of the gay scene, but this recalls many dark clubs and dancing into the night all the same…

    • Like being in a trance. That’s a fabulous compliment.🙂 I danced in a few gay bars back then, too. I could always be sure that the music would be good there.

  19. I never care for the music scene, when most of my friends will not talk of anything but. Although I was a very good dancer, and all the girls wanted to dance with me, even if I really did not care too much about it, or took advantage of it. At clubs I did not have to wait on line to be admitted, the people guarding the door they will spot me, and let me inn for free, neither I needed to buy drinks, the ladies will send them to me, so I would go and dance with them. I guess the guys at the door knew I was good business for the bar.
    Went to a few wild places when I first arrived in LA in the middle 80’s, have a friend who met in the early 70’s, he moved to LA prior to me, and become a teacher, but by the time I arrived in LA, he had decided to become an artist, of I could not say what medium, he painted, he made sort of sculptures with old stuff, he played the guitar very well, and performed alone, or with groups, he recited poetry, and even did some type of Nouveau dance using a long road who originally was a standing lamp, with his round base, but without the lamp, he danced in an athletic, but rhythmic fashion with it, and I have to say I was impressed by his performance, he used to take me to to old warehouses, and abandoned buildings around the tracks on the East side of Downtown LA around the tracks, were some artistic, and music events will take place, at least every week, it was exciting for me at the time, in my opinion being myself a painter before he start  to, he was a better performing artist than, in creating paintings, or figurative pieces of art, that were a little too, how should I say this? Opportunistic, and created for shocking effect, anyway soon the whole thing become old news to me, he remained on a bohemian lifestyle, and I would run into him once in a while, last time I saw him, was right here, when I retired and move back to the place we both first meet before he left for LA, as youngsters, he beat me to be back here, he doesn’t do art anymore, he build a small apartment building, where he lives from the rent from his two tenants, and I suppose, his retirement check.
    Your piece this time evokes those days in LA  and how things change with time.
    Best wishes to you Julie, I enjoyed your story, and brought old memories. 🙂

    • What fabulous memories to look back on. Usually it’s the women who don’t have to wait in line or buy drinks. You must have been a dancing wizard! We all eventually evolve and quiet down, but not everyone has the fortune to have colorful experiences that we can look back on with a smile and a shake of the head. Thank you for sharing yours. Warmest wishes.

      • Everything was kind of new to me, well, as when we are young and we discover things we have never done, dancing was a first to me, never danced before, not counting kindergarten age, where I did, I was in my late twenties when I first dare to dance, and pretty much it consisted to lose my inhibitions, and self consciousness, as you mentioned in one of your comments above: “is simply allowing your body to move as it wishes.”
        And so I did, and got pretty good at it, however it started soon to be a source of problems, jealous boyfriends, and undesired ladies chasing me around, and me worrying about hurting feelings, simply I couldn’t dance with everyone, or cared to start unwanted relationships, with women who took a fancy at me, and start chasing me around town, just because I was a good dancer, and not bad looking at the time. I basically did the dancing for about a couple of years working at a tourist resort beach town.
        After I left that job, I hardly danced, did a little more in LA, but the same thing start happening, and figure it out, was not worth doing it for the trouble, and just stop doing it. I have danced after but very occasionally since.
        The funny thing most people who know me for a long time, since I am a quiet person, and not an extrovert character, and see me dance, after, they are like: “What the the heck was that? I got no idea you could dance like that!” 🙂

        • So many men would love to be in that predicament.🤣 But I suspect that introverts are the best dancers and would not like the extra attention. Haha.

  20. Seriously, this whole thing was fecking brilliant. Generally I want to follow non-Americans so I can learn more of the world but, here I am, following a Michigan girl.

    After this passage; “The music became a stagnant pond, sub-genres blended together to appeal to the masses. The waves went flat.” I wanted to add “You kids get off my lawn!!”.

    Here’s to the inevitable, the drooping body, the morphing of dreams, the hard realities of morning as we age. It can be done with elan and a great sense of humor. You’re gonna be oK.

    • Hahaha. More like “you kids get off my dance floor!” Not that they’d even be caught dead there. The definition of cool is ever-evolving. And one day they’ll be in my shoes. Cheers from Up North!✋

      • Reddit quoted their favorite lines from Simpsons and Homer’s dad’s line was up there:

        Abe: I used to be with it.' But then they changed whatit’ was. Now
        what I’m with' isn'tit’ and what’s `it’ seems weird and scary
        to me. It’ll happen to you.

        Homer: No way, man. We’re gonna keep on rockin’ forever!

  21. Music… The rhythm of the soul… the Pulse of the heart… The elixir of life … Vibration!….. Frequency.. MUSIC….
    May your Dancing heart never stop dearest Julie..
    Loved reading your experiences through the eyes of dance through the years.. ❤

    Love and Huge hugs your way dearest friend… I am not quite dancing, but putting one step in front of the other… Glad to be among such GOOD Vibrations.. ❤

    • I promise I will never stop dancing. 🙂 I don’t think I could if I tried. I’m happy that this post could pass along some good vibrations to you, dear Sue. Hope you are doing better and that spring is beginning to appear in your part of the world. Sending so much love to you. ❤

  22. Julie, your memoir is spellbinding. Your description of music and dance are so captivating and completely clear I whirled back to my dancing days on the disco floors of the hangouts I went to. I did not cavort around the world and to read where you went brought those wanderlust years back smack dab into my present day. Music is no longer what it was sadly to say as I today find myself searching for music to get the vibe from. I keep saying the music and the art that will emerge from out of this past year hold on, great ready for it will blow the top of your head off. It’s coming! I just know.
    The way you are able to write as you do is incredible to witness. You are so so talented, my friend. I am in wonder from reading your words. Par excellent!! The way you both remember and express yourself in what you did years ago is like it just happened yesterday.
    Your words …..”Some will wander forever alone, unable to re-integrate into society. That’s the price paid for searching. The longer you’re away, the harder it is to return.” …. I relate explicitly with one huge exception. I have begun to find my soul group, something I did not think would ever occur. For most of my life I’ve been outside looking in, unable to find those I knew were my soul group. I believe with all I am that this is the time for those of us who walked alone to find those of the same frequencies in order to band together to form NEW as we move forward.
    Know you are a magical being. Thank you for writing this. xo

    • I’m so pleased to hear that you are finding your soul tribe, Amy. I’ve also spent my life on the outside. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like part of a tribe, but I am finally starting to be around people who seem to appreciate me. That’s good enough. I really do feel most comfortable alone, in Nature.

      Thank you for the compliments on my writing. I agree that the arts have lost their soul in recent years. I do hope that the result of this difficult year is a resurgence of pure, defiant inspiration in all its forms. Dance on, radiant one. 💖

      • You keep on dancing as well, Julie, to your own individual beats and rhythm while awaiting SOUL to emerge once again in music. And OH does it feel good to be appreciated instead of being looked upon as someone from another planet. Oh friend, I am just so very happy for you!! I feel most comfortable in Nature as well. That is my zone, my HOME, my zen. That will not change ever. xo

  23. My dance memories start just before the hippy days, when I was an art student in a provincial English Midlands city. We danced as Mods to bands like Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band doing covers of Sam ‘n’ Dave, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd and Otis Redding. We jived to old rock ‘n’ roll records at college dances. I got to see Otis and Sam ‘n’ Dave on the Stax European tour in the spring 1967. That was the same year he died. There’s a great Youtube video of the Oslo concert. It still gets me dancing when I watch it. I was in Oslo that summer but didn’t get to see the gig. It was the Summer of Love. Though I was a hippy, hippies didn’t do real dancing, I’d go to clubs for that. Then there was carnival in Notting Hill each August through the 70s, 80s and 90s. I lived right in the middle of all the action for almost thirty years. In carnival it was dancing to the beats of the Caribbean steel bands and Latin American samba type rhythms. I was also into reggae, dark cellar shebeens, dub filling eardrums, bass lines throbbing so deep it was like they were leaking out of the sweaty walls. Thick air rich with the delicious stench of ganja. Bad black boys looking tough, gold teeth and gold rings. Black and brown fists clutching cans of icy Red Stripe; white women hanging so close they almost looked like they were wearing them. You couldn’t get in without black friends, and even then it could be uncomfortable. I saw Bob Marley and the Wailers at London’s in 1976. You can listen to the same concert on record. Punk made its debut entrance big time that year. Punks were as bad at dancing as hippies, but I pogoed all the same, while quenching my thirst for dancing at venues where the Bee Gees hit the high notes and Marvin Gaye did some sexual healing. In the 1980s I was doing trips to Turkey a lot of the time, buying tribal kilims and rugs in Eastern Anatolia, before spending some R&R on the coast near Antalya. On the beach by daytime, by nightime I was dancing to Michael Jackson and disco. Though I slowed down some in the 90s I still hit a few clubs and warehouse with acid house. When the new century dawned, I moved to Andalucia in Spain. The first couple of years I used to hit the local clubs on Saturday with a couple of fishermen friends. I danced while they watched. I suppose I’d slowed down quite a bit by the time I hit my mid-sixites, but my hips still start swaying when the music’s right, and I’ll still take to the floor if the mood takes me. I’ve danced through a lot of life and got to seventy-two just yesterday, with my limbs all intact and still functioning. If you ever get down this way, maybe we’ll get the chance to get on the floor together.

    • You are an absolute inspiration, Bryan. What memories! Dancing through all those decades and still feeling the groove. Music is a mirror of the times, I believe. I’d be honored to share a dance floor with you. Dance on, brother. And Happy Birthday!

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