Dancing in Finland

Knowing how to interact with the world around you is essential for one’s well-being. It is a knowledge of particular importance when dealing with conflict. Unfortunately, it seems many people are addicted to conflict and feel that the only way to resolve this conflict is with aggressive, violent behaviour. Violence breeds violence so the conflict becomes never-ending.

To get out of this loop, I decided to experiment using Twitter comments. When something controversial is posted, I try to comment in an alternative way. For example: recently the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, was at a party and, while dancing she was filmed and the footage posted on social media. The world went crazy. One morning every other post on Twitter was about her. So, in reply to a post related to Marin’s dancing, I wrote: “Is dancing illegal in Finland?” Immediately I started getting one like after another for this comment (much to my surprise) then someone responded “Not since 1945” and that response got even more likes than my initial reply. Wondering why there was so much enthusiasm for this comment, I did a quick search and discovered that dancing had actually been banned in Finland during WWII. Police went around to control and anyone caught dancing was punished. Of course the majority of the people caught dancing were women.

Why would anyone want to ban dancing? The Finnish logic was that dancing often meant touching your dance partner and such contact could provoke excitement leading to immoral behaviour. And of course, since the beginnings of patriarchal societies, women were always to blame whenever morality was the problem.

So, taking all of this into consideration, Marin’s dance video has other implications. And no wonder, in response to the controversy, Finnish women began posting videos of themselves dancing. Not just in support of Marin but also a reminder than women were free and independent and no longer subjected to patriarchal standards.

If Marin should be criticized for something, it shouldn’t be for dancing but for the actions taken as a Prime Minister. For example, the Finnish betrayal of the Kurds who moved to Finland hoping to find a safe place to live as it was considered to be a neutral country. But now, feeling the need to join NATO, Marin has agreed to the extradition of the Kurds as requested by Erdogan who told the Finns he would vote against their acceptance into NATO otherwise. And what do you think will happen to these Kurds once sent back to Turkey?

But let’s get back to dance.

Dancing has been around for a very long time. Some scholar say as far back as 1.5 million years ago. So we can easily conclude that dancing is a basic need. In my publication “Bebina Bunny’s Cabinet of Curiosities” I wrote about dance and will reprint that excerpt here:

Movement is medicine.

If you don’t move, you become stagnant and lose your flow.

Music can help because it gives your body a rhythm and changes your brainwave frequencies. And changing your frequencies means changing your mood.  But, more importantly, when your body responds to music, you don’t have any other choice than to get up and move.  And we call this movement dance.

Dance synchronizes mind with body and maybe it’s why it helps prevent Alzheimer’s. 

Dancing makes you shift your weight. Weight-shift, an important element in Classical Greek art, is also known as “contrapposto”.  A figure twists on its own vertical axis permitting the weight of one part of the body to counterbalance the other.

Often you lose your symmetry just to keep your balance.

Weight-shifting helps you flow.  Stand up and shift your weight from one side to the next and feel yourself sway.

When one side gets tired, we shift our weight and let the other side take its turn. Maybe it’s a technique we should use mentally as well.

Dancing has been around for a long time.  In ancient times, dancing ceremonies were a means of worshipping Mother Earth as well as a means of bonding members of the community.

The circle is the oldest known dance formation and many ancient depictions show women dancing alone or in circles.  The circle symbolizes infinity, unity and wholeness.  It also symbolizes Mother Earth, the womb and the seasons.

Dancing in a circle was popular even in Jesus’ time.  In the Acts of John, mention is made of Jesus’ participating in a circle dance before his arrest. And, in Ecclesiastes 3, we’re told there’s a time for dancing:   “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven ….a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Just rock it out.

There is something magical and calming about the rocking motion.  Just think of babies who are rocked to sleep. The rocking recreates the rhythm of the womb.

Studies show that rocking is good for the elderly, too, especially those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

President JFK suffered from chronic back pain.  So his doctor told him to sit and rock out the pain.  Since a spinal cord can work in only one direction at a time, if you rock in a chair, your brain, because you’re using your legs, sends impulses to the spinal cord thus blocking impulses to the back muscles.  Your back, not incited, can thus relax.

Sometimes all it takes is just shaking your head. Like a bottle of salad dressing, you need motion to get the ingredients interrelating again.

Rock ‘n Roll.

The term “rock and roll” was originally a nautical term with “rock” indicating fore & aft motion and “roll” indicating sideway motion.  The term was also used during WII by aircraft mechanics to indicate an engine in good condition.  These mechanics liked the term so much that, when on leave having a good time, they said they were “rocking and rolling.”

About this time, black spiritual singers developed a music called “rhythm and blues” but whites were prohibited from listening to black music.  So DJ Alan Freed, in order to play “rhythm and blues” on his radio show, simply called it “rock and roll.” 

Dancing can put you in a trance.  Take, for example, the Whirling Dance of the Sufi.  The dancers spin around so much that they hyperventilate and enter into a state of altered consciousness. The body is meant to act as a spinning wheel because spinning is a fundamental condition for existence—just think of atoms and chakras.

Dating back 40,000 years, trance dancing was considered a spiritual practice because it gave the body and soul a chance to reunite.

The use of the body as a means of altering reality was also noticed by psychological anthropologist, Felicitas Goodman.  She discovered that certain prehistoric statues seemed to be in yoga positions.  After much research, she came to the conclusion that certain body postures caused one to experience trance inducing physiological changes…

So, in the words of singer Vivien Green, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” 


Related: The dancing ban in Finland during World War II + After a 1948 agreement with the Soviet Union, Finland officially became neutral + Erdogan launches new ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kurds + Why Do Humans Dance? + Get Right Back to My Baby line dance video +

About Art for Housewives

The Storyteller....
This entry was posted in Bebina Bunny, Daily Aesthetics, female consciousness, Sound & Music and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dancing in Finland

  1. Rosa Vito says:

    Soooo fascinatin’! Once again you rock my world. Many thanks.

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