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Ballerina on a razor's edge

Rating: 3 votes, 2.67 average.
Do you like to dance? Little boys and girls, universally. Women, generally. Young men, occasionally. "Mature" men (hah!), not so much. Actually, "way too much given how wretched they are." Work by British evolutionary biologists suggests a painful explanation for the near-universal horror of middle-aged male dancing:

The cringeworthy ''dad dancing'' witnessed at wedding receptions every weekend may be an unconscious way in which ageing males repel the attention of young women, leaving the field clear for men at their sexual peak.

''The message their dancing sends out is 'stay away, I'm not fertile','' said Dr Peter Lovatt, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, who has compared the dancing styles and confidence levels of nearly 14,000 people.

His research has backed up scientific studies showing a connection between dancing, hormones and sexual selection. Men between 35 and their 60s typically attempt complex moves with limited co-ordination - a fact obvious to anyone who has seen Tony Blair, 56, and even 72-year-old Jack Nicholson dancing.

Dr Lovatt pointed to research showing that women could gauge the testosterone levels of their dance partners by the style and energy of their moves and suggested that ''dad dancing'' might be a way of warning women of child-bearing age that they might be better off looking elsewhere.

''It would seem completely unsurprising to me that since middle-aged men have passed their natural reproductive age . . . evolution would act to ensure they are no longer attractive to 18-year-old girls,'' Dr Lovatt said. ''It's like an apple that is going brown - you want a fresh green one instead.''

Women, it seems, are ever-green: supple, coordinated wonders whose simplest moves make our hearts ache. And whose most expressive make them race.

Perhaps, though, we do have a role yet to play . . . as audience, inspiration, imperator?

she danced suspended
caught in a web between
sweet pleasure and pain
a moth whirls around a flame

lithe ballerina twirls
along a razors edge
graceful are her steps
she dances without fear

wild and free she moves
arms reaching for heaven
safe in knowing no doubt
he would never let her fall

from W.I. Boucher (2005), a Wisconsin resident, cook and historian.


  1. emeralds's Avatar
    thought provoking blog.. thank you solis.1
    and i love the poem
  2. Solis's Avatar
    You're quite welcome, em. I'm glad you enjoyed it and appreciate your thoughtful note.



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