Tag Archive | Funology

The Best Dancer

Rabbit described it charitably by saying “Paxus dances like he is listening to a musical instrument which has not yet been invented.”  But i have to confess i was a bit terrified heading into our blues dancing adventure.  Feonix had contended that Blues Dancing and Yoga were powerful non-sexual intimacy building tools that we should include in the Loud Love conference we are organizing.  Ali (a new Oaker and part of the organizing team) was skeptical of the Blues Dancing part of this claim, so we needed to see it and experience it for ourselves.  After a 45 minute lesson, we jumped into the deep end of beginner Blues Dancing.

bluesdance

Blues dancing works well when the communication is free flowing. 

Feonix was right.  Blues Dancing, in contrast to many forms of dancing, requires a high level of consent consciousness to work.  The leader needs to send clear signals to the follower and they need to have a sensitivity to the followers comfort level.  I loved that the women asked me to dance and as poor as i was at the steps, i walked away feeling confident that our interaction was a positive one for them – despite my poor dancing.

At one point when i was dancing with Feonix i noticed a young woman who had her head against her partners chest and she had an incredible smile on her face.  I was appreciative of what i assumed was either a long trusting dance relationship or a romantic connection between this smiling dancer and her lead.  bluesdacne

Thirty minutes later this smiling dancer, Nina, would introduce herself to me.  We spoke of my developing theories on Blues Dancing and consent.  And like a good propagandist, Nina was quick to point out that there are problems with the consent culture in the DC area blues dancing scene.  Nothing especially serious, but people who were scaring away new dancers by being creepy around them.  Nina told me of partners who are sloppy in their signals and did things their followers did not want them to do.  But my mind had already linked onto the metaphor of blues dancing and advanced consent culture.  When i asked Nina about the partner who she was smiling so broadly on, she told me it was someone she had met one week earlier, but they had an extraordinary connection.    I was blown away, and further convinced.
blues-dancing-photos-10

When Steve later asked me who my favorite dance partner was, i had to say Nina.  Not because she was the most talented dancer (this was quite hard for me to tell), nor for her grace and attractive appearance.  For me Nina was the best dancer, because she shook me up.  She showed me her emotional daring both in asking me to dance and in dancing so close with a near stranger.

And daring is my favorite trait.

And i had a fantastic time and am convinced Blues Dancing should be part of the Loud Love conference we are organizing May 31-June 2 at Sophia House (more info and register here).

blues2

Disneyland Paris versus the Efteling

When people ask me about funology i talk about this quasi-science’s testbeds or parties and festivals.  Today i want to write about amusement parks.

Willow, his half brother Fabian, Hawina, Micha and Wieneke and i all went to the Dutch amusement park called the Efteling yesterday.  We arrived early and closed the place.  It was cold and gray, which it turns out is the perfect weather for going to this successful theme park, because there were virtually no lines on any of the rides.  Fabian went on this boat ride 10 times, Willow went 8.  My stomach could only handle 3.

Paxus, Micha, Willow and Fabian on Efteling Boat ride

Paxus, Micha, Willow and Fabian on Efteling boat ride

The Efteling is a vibrant successful theme park with 4 million visitors a year employing 3,000 (mostly) locals at the height of the season.  Part of what makes a theme park work is adding new attractions.  This year is the 60th anniversary of the park and they added a new light and water show.

Sixty years ago (just 7 years after the second world war which devastated this country, the main port of Rotterdam had not yet been rebuilt) the park was built around the idea of showcasing fairytale stories.  It has grown to a more classical theme park with roller coasters and other rides since then.

Twenty years ago what was then called EuroDisney was built at the staggering cost of US$4 billion).   DisneyLand Paris (as it is now called) has lost money for almost every year of operation.  Part of the reason is the 36 million Euros a month (about US$50 million) it must pay in interest for the original construction.  But with 15 million visitors a year (more than either the famous Paris art museum the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower) DisneyLand Paris cant seem to turn this situation around.  DisneyLand Paris employs in about the same visitor to employ ratio as the Efteling, with 12,000 staff.

There are lots of contributing factors beyond the crushing debt payments.  One of the largest is alcohol.  For almost 20 years Disney has banned alcohol at the park.  The park is located in one of the best wine growing regions in France and the French simply refuse to eat without drinking.  Thus the per visitor expenditures are well below what is forecasted.  This November, after the CEO resigned, Disney is finally reversing this policy.  The other reason often sited for the financial failing of this park is the interference by US decision makers at Disney in the operation of this European park.

As with so many ventures, the key to success is respecting the local culture.

It is one persons job to give out clown noses for this ride all day long

It is one persons job to give out clown noses for this ride all day long

All still photos credit Michael Engelhardt