Posted in Of Life

Of Dancing By Yourself

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Elvis. Photo by Pixabay on

I’ve been watching this YouTube channel called Grackle, which is a channel by a 21-year-old bakery student called Grace Booth. She mainly makes food-related videos and has an enthusiastic and hilarious personality which is completely authentic. She also seems to have incredible metabolism, given by the amount and type of food she eats and managing to still look like a runway model, which she actually used to be. To be fair, she is young and 5’10”, so she has the energy and tendency to stay slim. But, I think the secret to her success in this respect also boils down to a particular activity she indulges in from time to time – what she likes to call, “A Boogie Sesh.”

That is, a boogie session. Or what can be more plainly put, dancing by yourself, maybe in your bedroom, to songs you enjoy. At first, I was amazed at how she gets away with it. She has certainly retained a lot of what are essentially, good habits that children naturally develop and then lose because they get to an age when they realise they need to be cool, and cool usually means not doing anything that betrays joy, exuberance or in some cases, life. Grace has cracked the enigma, that mystery of life, by driving to a park all by herself (because as an adult, she can), and then making optimum use of what parks have to offer, like swings and outdoor gym equipment and sunshine and grass (because that is what she learnt to appreciate as a kid).

But, you can still justify that to yourself as an adult, by saying you’re getting some fresh oxygen and vitamin D. How do you even conceive of the idea of dancing by yourself, for fifteen to twenty minutes, at a random time, maybe in a random place, with no one watching and for no obvious purpose? Long showers, you can defend yourself. Doing a face mask, absolutely Instagrammable. But, dancing just for the sake of it? Who does(/admits) to that?

But then, I put two and two together – Grace’s food habits and daily activities. I also put another set of two’s together – my unabashed love of dancing and my indestructible hatred for exercise. And then I tried to form an equation with the two sets in a completely unmathematical way until I came up with,

Why not try A Boogie Sesh as An Exercise Routine?!

I know what you’re thinking, especially with that punctuation. Since when are you acting like you belong to your generation, Amrita? I am going to further disappoint you and say I looked it up. On the Google. I came across pages on Freestyle Dancing that confirmed, depending on time, frequency and intensity of the activity, that you can burn a lot of calories this way. Also, unlike other forms of routine exercises, such as aerobics or yoga, your mind has to continually make the decision to what your body does next, and thus, it exercises that muscle too. I didn’t find any further studies, but because it is a consciously chosen, enjoyable activity, I’m guessing endorphins might make an earlier appearance than they do with a standard  workout. Also, you don’t need a gym membership, any equipment, even workout clothes, and whilst you will need a music-playing device, like a smartphone, you wouldn’t really have to look at it.

You just can’t lose with A Boogie Sesh.

I put it to the test, of course. I need to elaborate on what I started with in this experiment before we go any further. I am five kilograms above my recommended normal BMI range, which is not a lot, but I’d rather not have that extra weight. I have also never had a proper exercise routine for a long period of time, which is mainly due to my afore-mentioned hatred for it. It is tedious, demanding and in most cases, plain boring. However, and this makes me an ideal subject for this experiment, I am a reasonably uninhibited, untrained dancer. As in, I’ve never learned how to dance, but I have no qualms in dancing, often in a party situation, for the love of it. Party situations are harder to come by these days, but you’d often find me boogieing to numbers while doing chores, or just going about my life. As a younger person I too, used to boogie like Grace in a concentrated manner. But, like so many things, I stopped doing that. Getting older, struggling with mood, who knows why?

And thus, I had my first boogie sesh. For fifteen minutes before I went to bed. To, among other tracks, “Work From Home” by Fifth Harmony because I’m down with what the kids listen to (yeah, a song from 2016). Bad idea all around, you’d say. But, I did it the next day too, at an earlier hour, for twenty minutes. This time we had classics from my teenage years, like “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce. Granted, I didn’t have much room to strut, but I could feel the difference already. It did feel a bit like work, having to come up with steps, keeping up a good intensity. But oh, it was so much better than just doing repeated squats and lunges. I did realise by the third session that, just because of the nature of songs I was going for, I was getting more of an upper-body workout. But, “Footloose” can take care of that.

I also realised, as I sometimes have in my party situation boogieing, that I love a good jump. Guess which is my favourite The Rolling Stones song to boogie to. Jumping is also good for the lymphatic system so this way, I can totally get a legitimate workout. And, in general, Mick Jagger, who is back on the road after getting surgery recently at age seventy-five, is my fitness/boogie idol. I’ve never seen them live, but I find it impossible to be seated if I watch them in my living room.

I did go back to some regular, dull squats and lunges today, but freestyle dancing has put excitement and hope back into my life. I no longer have to be a lump whose calorie-burning consists of shifting from one end of the sofa to the other end as she watches people talk about how they lost an absurd amount of weight in an equally absurd amount of time. Boogieing to fitness seems as legitimate a thing to do as writing an article on David Bowie. One exercises the body, the other the mind, and both spring from the heart, and help keep it in regular pumping condition too.

What songs do you love to boogie to? Share them below!


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

13 thoughts on “Of Dancing By Yourself

  1. I don’t boogie (something I just started to regret) but if I would my favourite song would be Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrew Sisters! It cheers me up every time:)

  2. I’m a lamentably poor dancer but in my head what I boogie to would be Modern Love by Bowie, Got A Thing On My Mind by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Shruggy Ji by Red Baraat, Tumba by Angelique Kidjo, and about 14,732 more songs if I had more time!

    1. Adding them to my playlist! Share the 14,732 songs too, if you have the time! Happy to see Bowie there. People intellectualize him way too much. As Dylan said about himself, Bowie’s “a song and dance man” too!

      Also, don’t worry about your dancing skills when boogieing. Mine are undefined, but nobody’s going to stop me from having a good time! I suggest you give it a try. You might like it!

      Anyway Robert, I hope you’re well. I’ve stayed away from social media for two months, so I’ve a lot of catching up to do. I see you have a new punk series out. Very excited to read it!

      1. Delighted to hear from you too! I remember you saying you were staying away from social media. Not a bad pursuit and one I frequently threaten to do myself!

        That’s a good Dylan quote about Bowie! Very true. Modern Love though is just that perfect beat that defies you NOT to move something on your body. Which is the point I suppose. Even if I don’t dance, I’m bopping my head or tapping, or something.

        I’ve been okay thanks overall. Some good things, some bad things. Headed to Ireland next month which I am hoping will give me some needed balance and perspective in my life. I’ve been trying to keep the personal out of my posts but I have to admit its been hard. I hadn’t intended the Lord Franklin series to have a personal conclusion, but it happened. That being said, I hope you do get a chance to see the start of the punk series! It has been a lot of fun researching. And actually, between the blogging world shrinking, I realized that between this project and Lord Franklin the research has been something I truly enjoy as well as constructing the parts into a series. It feels right to me now to write less individual posts but to instead focus on these bigger projects. So stay tuned. Great to hear from you.

      2. Ireland always seems to have some breathtaking places if pop culture is anything to go by, so I hope it rejuvenates you. I think I never reported I did read Blackwater Lightship last year. Thoroughly enjoyed it, as is usual with Toibin. If you’re looking for something to read, I recommend his short story collection Mothers and Sons. That is, if you haven’t already read it. I think you’ll enjoy the tone of it. I’m reading The Overstory by Richard Powers, which might be your cup of tea too!

        I do have to clarify that Dylan was talking about himself in that quote. I think it’s from his documentary. It’s just with Bowie people seem to derive some great, esoteric significance even if he coughs in an interview or something. I sometimes need to remind myself that most of his art is there to be primarily enjoyed!

      3. Ireland definitely does, particularly Donegal where I will be. Toibin is truly a gifted writer. I have not been disappointed in anything I have read thus far. I think Mothers and Sons is on my bookshelf. I started it a few times but truth be told, I actually have a very difficult time reading short stories for some reason I can’t explain. Odd, especially when I enjoy a writer it should make no difference.

        Ah thanks for that clarification. Point taken! By documentary do you mean the new Dylan documentary on Netflix? I watched it and enjoyed the music very much.

      4. Several of the Mothers and Sons stories do have an incomplete, longing feel, and that might be a reason for you to not enjoy them. I’ve not watched Rolling Thunder Revue as yet, though I’m dead excited. Thom Yorke too has a new film on Netflix out, which I’m also looking forward to watch. The documentary I’m referring to is No Direction Home, which was also by Scorcese.

      5. Ah have not seen No Direction Home. Must do so! Thom Yorke is a tougher sell lol! As to the book I think my struggle with short stories is because there is no buildup. It typically goes straight to the action rather than from the ground up. Which can be challenging

      6. You might like Toibin then. He has two collections, and they are definitely not abrupt. Some of them are practically novellas. They always have some build up.
        I got a New Yorker subscription a while ago. Those short stories definitely have a lot of build up!

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