Film Friday: Finding Your Feet

When snobby Sandra discovers that her husband is having an affair, she promptly moves out and goes to live with her down-to-earth sister, Bif. The life change is a bit of a shock, and Sandra quickly spirals downwards. Then Bif persuades Sandra to come along to the dance classes she attends. As a result, in spite of herself, Sandra discovers that dancing begins to revive her broken spirit.

Sometime around the age of 15 I discovered parties and dancing. I’ve never been very good at either, but back then, in the heady days of disco and punk, dancing either involved clutching a girl and clumsily swaying in the dark to a slow disco number, or leaping around in a kind of frenzied, pogoing fashion to the likes of The Clash and The Jam. Happy days. Later, when I worked at the Lee Abbey conference centre, we used to have discos for the community who worked there; and, in that safe environment, I rediscovered a love of dancing badly in the dark to all the old disco numbers. Nowadays I dance with our 4-year-old daughter. Which is great because it doesn’t matter whether you’re Fred Astaire or Mr Bean, she doesn’t mind, she just wants you to leap about. Often to songs from My Little Pony. I’d dance more in public if I had the courage, I find it uplifting and liberating, but I’m self-conscious.

Jesus danced. He must have done, he went to lots of parties and there would have been dancing. I doubt if they put on Abba or The Clash, the music would have been live. Presumably the first century Jewish equivalent of Staying Alive. There is a great moment in the film The Last Temptation when Jesus attends a party and dances. But it’s rare to see that in a film about Jesus. He said he’d come to bring fullness of life, and he often used parties as a metaphor for God’s kingdom, he seemed to like going to them and often got into trouble for doing so. On one occasion he was accused of spending time with ‘these scum’. Perhaps he found people to be more relaxed and open at these kinds of dos. Receptive to his offer of life. I can often be a bit buttoned-up in church, trying to look as if I’m a good, sorted-out person. At parties I look a little more ragged, a little more myself perhaps. When a lost coin was found, Jesus said, a woman threw a big party for everyone, presumably spending the coin! When a lost child wandered back home out of the dirt and the dark, the first thing the father did was throw a huge party. His older brother refused to come, counting himself as too good for that sort of thing. A dangerous place to be really. I don’t know if the angels dance, but Jesus said that there is fantastic joy in heaven when people discover how lost they are and find a home in him. I guess there may well be lots of parties in heaven, with lots of dancing, and I’m sure that it does not matter one jot how badly you jive, or samba, or pogo. It’s a place of freedom, laughter and never-ending acceptance.

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