In many parts of Germany, dancing in discotheques is not allowed on good friday. I think this law is an anachronism. Christians are a minority in Germany. I don’t stop them from celebrating this day if they want but they should not force it on otheres who don’t share their believes.
Moreover, the idea behind this law is not only wrong because here one culture is trying to force their laws on everybody else although the society of this country is secular and multicultural. It is also stupid because it is based on a lack of understanding of what dance is. It is based on the idea that dance is something that does not fit such a day. In the christian tradition, dance is seen as sinful. Anything connected to the body is viewd as sinful and bad. This thinking is based in a tradition found in protestant churches but going further back to gnostic beliefs and manichaeism.
The proponents of the prohibition of dance on this day refer to Article 140 of the German constitution that defines the purpose of the “quiet holidays”. They should be days of rest from work and uplifting for the soul. Bu the people baning dance on this day simply don’t know what they are talking about.
How can this paragraph of the constution be used to justify a ban of dance? The people behind this probably have no experience with dance themselves. They do not understan that dance is a form of art just like painting or music. Laws that ban certain forms of art for religious reasons are normaly found in taliban states, not in modern multicultural democracies.
What is dance? While painting is an form of art for the eyes and music is a form of art for the ears, dancing is a form of art for the proprioceptive sense, that is the sensors in our muscles that give us information about our bodie’s posture and movements. By dancing, ordered patterns percievable by these sense organs are created, patterns that are ordered in space and time and combined with the music we hear. They provide an aesthetic experience of their own kind, akin to music and closely coupled with emotions.
I am not particularly interested in the christian good fryday. But even if I concede that this should be a day consecrated to the uplifting of the soul or a day of mourning or grief, what could be more appropriate for it than dance. If you have ever seen a West African funeral dance like, for example, Adowa, you would understand this. On funerals there you would see mourning people, crying with tears, moving with dignified, elegant and noble movements. Such a dance is the best expression for grief and the best way to deal with it. I learned this dance from my late dancing teacher, Isaac Amissah, and it just feels elegant, beautiful and absolutely appropriate for a day of reflection and commemoration.
In many cultures, dance is a normal part of funerals. Because of the christian tradition of hostility aganist the body, the art form of dance has become very underdeveloped in western culture (I am tempted to use the word “primitive” here) when compared to some other, especially African, cultures. We better make elaborate dance part of our own culture as well, including our culture of funerals or mourning. On my own funeral, whenever that will be, people should dance!