There was a lot of dancing at the MTV Video Music Awards this week - some good, some bad, and some downright dirty.

Justin Timberlake - dubbed the President of Pop by US comedian and talk show host Jimmy Fallon who introduced him - can dance. Even when he's doing those robotic movements as he glides across the floor - in my day we used to call it bop - he still looks natural.

But then there's Kanye West who can't really dance. He gestures, lunges, and bounds on the spot, and does this rather odd hand-shaking thing like he's touched a hot oven (although you imagine he doesn't do much cooking at home for Kim and North).

And much has been said about Miley Cyrus already this week. She would have broken her daddy's achy breaky heart with her twerking-cum-lap dance routine with Robin Thicke during a trashy and awful version of his hit Blurred Lines. But this was the VMAs so there has to be at least one artist performing wearing next to nothing, making a spectacle of themselves, and dividing opinion over whether they pulled it off or not. I'm no prude - really, I'm not - but Cyrus' wee performance wasn't a success. Not because it was awkwardly try-hard, but because thrusting ain't dancing.


Last Saturday night, at my wife's mum's 70th birthday, we danced to Blurred Lines - and no, there was no humping and thrusting at all. That would have been weird. But we had a hoot, especially since it was followed by Poi E, I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift, Get Lucky by Daft Punk, Abba's Dancing Queen, and, er, Simply the Best by Tina Turner (a request from the birthday girl). I tell ya, it was hit after hit with three generations of party-goers getting down, from my 2-year-old daughter Katie doing her version of a Daft Punk-meets-Justin Timberlake robot dance through to my mother-in-law's 80-year-old brother.

The unifying nature of dancing sure is a powerful thing, even if Miley isn't the best example of it.

There's a great scene in Footloose where Kevin Bacon's character Ren quotes from the Bible in a desperate attempt to convince the straight-laced towns folk of Bomont that dancing is not the devil's work but, well, a gift from God.

"David danced before the Lord with all his might," reads Ren passionately.

And it turned out that if it was good enough for David, then it was good enough for Bomont and the prom went ahead and everybody cut loose.

I love to dance. I dance by myself, with my kids, with my wife, before breakfast, after dinner, at a party, and down the pub. Hell, I'll dance anywhere as long as the music's good.

And although this might sound over the top, I believe - to quote Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers - losing yourself to dance is essential for life.

Which is why even bad dancers - apart from Kanye that is - are often the best dancers because they don't care that they look like a drunken sailor, they just want to shake it, baby, shake it.


Dancing is the ultimate celebration and we should all do it more often.

- TimeOut