Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I Don't Think St Jean Vianney Would Approve...

I've recently taken up dancing classes. I believe it is what wicked modernists call 'jive'.

However, those going to the Good Counsel Network's November Ball might want to watch some of these videos. They are very, er, educational.

My personal opinion is that in this day and age there is something quite innocent about this dancing. It is for chaps and ladies, after all. It seems to teach about relationship and bonding. There has to be 'connection' for it to work. It is stylish and quite sexy (when done by those who can do it well).

It seems to do some teaching about male respect for ladies, I don't know how, it just does. He has to be gentle, but also its interesting because the man leads and (assuming the man knows how to lead) the lady follows. It says something about the compatibility of male and female. It is rather traditional in a way which couldn't have been imagined 50 years ago when I expect parents thought their children dancing in this way would be 'immodest'. 50 years later we got the rave scene which was 100% influenced by drugs. If you weren't on drugs, you just didn't get it.

St Jean Vianney, whose holy heart, excitingly, is coming to the United Kingdom, was apparently very against dances in Ars. In fact, part of the success of the holy priest was that he managed to get people, through his holy example, penance and prayer, to stop dancing, frolicking, cavorting and getting smashed and to adore the Living God instead, to tend to their souls, be holy, go to Confession and live for God.

That said, I think that if St Jean Vianney were on Earth today, surveying the moral landscape of, say, France, or the United Kingdom, he would still want people to do all that he managed through his holy life to convince people to do, but he would probably think jive rather tame, in comparison to what is about on the 'club scene'. He might even appreciate a dancing class starting up in his community centre or a Church disco to help the parish bond, in a Catholic way of course. All you need is a laptop, a disco ball, a stage, a PA system and a dance teacher.

The people who attend are young and old, a total mixture of ages. I am rubbish at it myself, I am proud and tend to sulk if I can't do something well first time, but I enjoy watching others dance - it is quite graceful, even watching the old folk dancing is quite lovely. Parish community halls seem to do Fairtrade stuff, but less bingo, dances, music, discos, quizzes, social evenings or just stuff for people to get to know the people who they hope to spend eternity with.

I get the impression that parish life has been quite decimated in the United Kingdom. Community centres used to be the focus of the community, that is, the parish community. Nowadays, they're just rented out to weird Tai Chi groups and Yogi masters. People can go to Mass and never know anyone there but for a few they have talked to. Perhaps it is another strange failure of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council. Perhaps Mass has taken 'centre-stage' as being the 'entertainment' and 'community bonding' session. That would be a strange knock-on effect, wouldn't it? All that working for 'justice and peace' but no bingo and no fun.

If you are interested, there seem to be groups all over the South East and probably all over the country, just google it, but remember, I still don't think St Jean Vianney would necessarily approve.

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