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Dancing, from "Dancing Queen," a song by ABBA

Subthemes: Enjoyable, Sensual, Dating and Courting

ABBA’s catchy hit, Dancing Queen, brings us into an eagerly anticipated Friday night where a teenage girl yearns to sparkle and be sultry under the disco ball. Dancing gives her freedom, self-expression, and power. Enjoy the performance! Several subthemes of Dancing appear.

Ooh
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Digging the dancing queen

Friday night and the lights are low
Looking out for a place to go
Where they play the right music
Getting in the swing
You come to look for a king
Anybody could be that guy
Night is young and the music’s high
With a bit of rock music
Everything is fine
You’re in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance

You are the dancing queen
Young and sweet
Only seventeen
Dancing queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Digging the dancing queen

You’re a teaser, you turn ‘em on
Leave ‘em burning and then you’re gone
Looking out for another
Anyone will do
You’re in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance
[refrain omitted]

Source: LyricFind

Enjoyable: The dancing queen exults in her time on the dance floor. She flourishes, Having the time of your life. Such is the power and pull of dancing: it is flat-out fun. It’s also often free, as folks dance around the living room or in the street. Dancing gives people a way to meet, enjoy others, and be caught up in the moment while expressing their mood to throbbing music. The memories of being whirled around by your father in the kitchen never leave you. Rules are minimal, flexibility is maximized, and the atmosphere of the dance floor can be electric.

Small kids prance, hop and spin when they are excited and happy; grown up kids, perhaps transported in the rain, let it all hang out and forget their cares. Just dance! Snoopy of Peanuts fame flaps his ears and leaps! Nearly everyone finds happiness dancing, and some of us revel in it. Creative, expressive, together or apart – to dance is to enjoy.

Sensual: Dancing for pleasure can be stimulating for the dancer, a turn-on for the partner, and arousing for observers. The nubile Dancing Queen likes being lusted for:

You’re a teaser, you turn ‘em on
Leave ‘em burning and then you’re gone

In its twirls, bends, and reaches, in the swirl of hair and dramatic turns, bodies show off their charms and physical attraction comes into full play. There can be excitement unselfconsciously delighting other or conscious exhibition and teasing. Slow, holding tight or cheek to cheek, smoldering, raising pulses and body heat – dancing is sexy.

To pulsing lights and primitive beats, swaying, sweating bodies, and clinging clothes add even a little alcohol – not to mention MDMA (ecstasy) or other club drugs – and you’re caught up in the rave and electronic dance music scene. The hypnotic ambiance winds everybody up. It can be foreplay set to music. Even more risqué, explicitly erotic dancing may be the among the world’s oldest form of entertainment: belly dancing, pole dancing, striptease to music, leggy can-cans, and the biblical Dance of the Seven Veils by Salome for Herod II come to mind. They all exploit rhythm, enchanting movement, and good-looking bodies.

Dating and Courting: Countless couples have met and become smitten with each other on the dance floor.

You come to look for a king
Anybody could be that guy

“Asking the girl to the dance” is a time-honored step early in many courtships. High schools (oh, the days of sock hops!), youth groups, religious organizations, colleges, and others host dances where shy boys eventually screw up the courage to ask girls to the floor. The girls can’t wait to get started and groove to the music, but the boys? – “Well, my heart went “boom” when I crossed that room, And I held her hand in mine.” (Beatles, I Saw Her Standing There]. For younger teens, mingling clumps of both sexes dance collectively, but pairs eventually separate themselves.

Proms are, well, prominent as the culmination of high school social life. In traditional, chaperoned dances protocols governed of courtly invitation and escort onto the floor and off; in the 18th and 19th centuries, elaborate etiquette governed behavior at grand balls. Young women filled in their dance cards in spaces for “engagements,” as explained on American Antiquarian, which explains that era and lists hundreds of dances. The Dancing Queen and millions of others have looked for romance from a dance. Even today, in some circles, a cotillion is a formal ball to introduce debutantes to the social world (just a bit dated).

 

A young girl, only 17, throbs with excitement as she awaits a night of dancing. She loves the freedom of movement and expression, never gets tired even with the most energetic moves, cherishes the sexl appeal that she radiates, and hopes in an undefined way to meet the boy she will love. This is a danceable song about the joy of dancing.

If you are interested in further thoughts on the concept “Dancing,” consider other subthemes that don’t fit as directly to the poem, painting, rock song, and movie written about in this series. For an overview, this article explains Themes from Art or click on the navigation bar, “About.”

We invite you to read about other songs discussed on this blog, and their themes. Here they are:

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