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Dancing, Additional Subthemes

Subthemes: In Art and Literature, Records, Expressions

The subthemes of Dancing discussed above arise from four works of art: a movie soaked in fine dancing, a Roethke poem of a father’s vigorous dancing, a seventeen-year-old girl who blossoms when dancing, and a Renoir of a French couple on the dance floor. We have a few more subthemes to present.

In Art and Literature: We could write at length on dance scenes from novels, such as those in Emma by Jane Austen, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, or Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Musicals and plays roll out dance scene, such as in Mary Poppins, West Side Story, or Grease. Operas favor dance scenes, as in Bizet’s Carmen with the Habanera, Richard Strauss’s Arabella, Verdi’s La Traviata, Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus or the appropriately named Un Ballo in Maschera by Verdi. Classical music even has pieces that honor dance, such as Danse macabre, a tone poem for orchestra written by Camille Saint-Saëns and Invitation to the Dance, a piano piece written by Carl Maria von Weber.

Records: As is our custom, we can present a small set of the most, the biggest, the oldest and other superlatives associated with Dancing.

Earliest evidence - The oldest proof of existence of dancing comes from the 9,000-year-old cave paintings that were found in India, which depicts scenes of hunting, childbirth, religious rites, burials and most importantly, communal drinking and dancing. Dance Facts

Statue Statue of a Greek Dancer from Wikipedia

First dance movie - filmed by Thomas A. Edison in 1894. The first actual dance movie film projected to an audience was Swan Lake Ballet in 1895 in St. Petersburg, Russia. artship

Fastest dancer - James Devine of Ireland is a World Record Holder for the “fastest feet in the world”, with an astonishing 38 taps per second. Irish Post

Longest period of continuous dancing by one person - As of June 2020, Bandana Nepal holds the Guinness World Record, for which she danced for 126 hours continuously. Wikipedia

Largest dance audience – 400,000 in Turkey

Oldest ballet company - The Paris Opera Ballet was founded in 1669, making it the oldest company in the world, and has origins in the court of Louis XIV. The company consists of 154 dancers, which includes 17 Danseurs Étoiles (Star Dancers) - the highest rank of dancer.

Most performed ballet - The Nutcracker, composed in 1891 by Tchaikovsky LiveAbout

Very expensive ballet slippers - Royal blue colored ballet slippers decorated with unique pendants cost around $4,000 Luxury Topics

Most movies danced in by an American actor – Approximately 38 by Fred Astaire (more than the approximately 30 for Gene Kelley)

Expressions: Dancing has spawned idiomatic sayings that refer to it in a figurative sense. Here are 44 sayings that refer to dancing or were based on dancing that now have a broader meaning. They come from various sources and my own experience. The online source includes Dictionary.com.

“all-singing, all-dancing” (high-tech gadgets with the latest technology and features)

“burn up the dance floor” (energetic, dance a lot)

“catch someone flat-footed” (take someone by surprise)

“dance all night long” (enjoy a wonderful night of partying)

“dance around the topic” (ignore a controversial or difficult subject)

“dance attendance on someone” (try to please someone by obeying their every wish)

“dance the night away” (have a fantastic date evening)

“dance to someone’s tune” (comply with someone’s demands and whims)

“dance up a storm” (do something with lots of energy)

“dance with death” (attempt something that’s very risky)

“dancing in the streets” (ecstatic about something that’s happened)

“dancing on air” (be extremely happy)

“do a cha cha” (someone who’s a talented socialite who works smoothly with others)

“drag one’s feet/heels” (stall, be deliberately slow or reluctant to act)

“fall/land on one’s feet” (achieve a fortunate outcome from a difficult situation)

“follow in someone’s footsteps” (do the same thing/make the same choices as someone else did)

“footloose and fancy-free” (without any commitments or responsibilities)

“get in a groove” (warm up/get used doing something)

“get off on the wrong foot” (make a bad start to a project or relationship)

“get your groove on” (enjoy yourself by dancing)

“give it a whirl” (try something out)

“has two left feet” (a person who is not a very good dancer)
“horizontal dance” (getting busy under the sheets)

“it takes two to tango” (both people/parties are responsible for the argument/problem or solution)

“keep one’s feet on the ground” (be/remain practical and sensible)

“keep someone on their toes” (keep someone on the alert)

“land/fall on one’s feet” (have good luck)

“lead someone a merry dance” (mislead someone; cause someone a great deal of worry)

“light on one’s feet” (nimble)

“out of step” (not up to date as someone or something, not matching smoothly)

“kick up your heels” (live exuberantly)

“put a foot wrong” (make a mistake while performing an action)

“put on your dancing shoes” (get ready to perform)

“put your best foot forward” (begin an endeavor with effort and determination)

“song and dance” (make a fuss about something, exaggerate, make up a story)

“step out/put a toe out of line” (behave inappropriately/break the rules)

“strut one’s stuff” (show off, behave confidently and enthusiastically)

“sweep someone off their feet” (charm someone with romantic gestures)

“tap dance like mad” (get out of a sticky situation; act fast to distract someone)

“think on one’s feet” (react unexpected events in a decisive and practical manner)

“tread/step on someone’s toes” (offend someone by interfering with their responsibilities)

“trip the light fantastic” (go out dancing)

“twinkle toes” (someone who is nimble and quick on their feet)

“you can’t dance at two weddings” (you can’t do two things at once)

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