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Dancing in a Car Park

Dancing in a Car Park

In a medium-sized German town, not far from the local university, there is more going on in a parking garage on this chilly and damp winter evening than the scattered non-home-office candidates who traipse out of the office masked to their petrol-driven hackney and drive home to dog and hearth.

Tonight, a few contemporaries steal out of the house, thieving but determined, and gather for a round dance. They are cheerful fellows: Students and not-so-students, young and young-at-heart. Bourgeois and apolitical through and through. Rarely consciously conservative, but all interested in preserving their cultural livelihood.

They want to live. They want to dance. And they want to be healthy. For this they take responsibility and accept that they may incur displeasure.

This gives the impression that forbidden music is being played, that degenerate art is being celebrated. That, however, is certainly too far-fetched. If you believe the media, these people are „only“ tired of life: they could be infected.

But with what? With joy? With real life? Possibly. At least they seem healthy and vital. At the latest after this evening.

In any case, once again in German history, people are intuitively doing something to add a few splashes of colour to the same-stepped broad grey of the joints and to no longer have to play footsie with the contemporary zeitgeist.

Latin and standard dance alternate with occidental folk dances, and in between there are line dance and salsa blocks. It’s not about mastery, every beginner is simply carried along and „danced“ until he or she succeeds.

Somehow the forbidden appeals. And it was precisely this that once offered the opportunity for occidental culture to sprout again and find its way to its kindred people. The cracks in the brittle asphalt of our time sometimes make the unthinkable possible. The dancers are not at all concerned with placing themselves in any tradition.

Similar to their historical counterparts, the garage dancers have merely found a solution strategy for their cultural ban: They give a F@%# about the rules and do their thing. Perhaps that’s why this form of civil disobedience is so timeless and guileless.

Ironically, swing youth is mostly glorified as resistance these days by those who would be offended by those dancing banned today. These contemporary comrades like to style themselves as resistance against such „machinations“. The great Hannah Arendt, God rest her soul, would probably have a lot to say about such things.

Sven Stemmer

Arnold Welsch