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...Or Are You Just A @#&\"#!!

Have you heard the news story of the woman who wished to change her seat on an airplane?

The story is that she was very displeased with her aisle seat, and asked a flight attendant if she could move. When asked what the problem was, the stately looking Caucasian woman replied that she did not wish to sit next to the Black man in the middle seat. She was so indignant, that she offered to pay for a First Class seat should there be one available. The FA quickly returned to the front, and discussed the situation with the other crew members. A few minutes later she returned, and asked the lady to please gather her things. As the lady, happily stepped into the aisle with her belongings, the FA leaned to the man, and said, “I am sorry, Sir, but there has been a seating change, and you will have to come with me. We have a seat for you in First Class.”

What would you have thought had you witnessed that incident? How would you have felt? Indignation towards the woman, perhaps, for her seemingly racist character; or, happiness, sadness, sympathy, or empathy for the man? Unethical… immoral… unjust? Clearly, the woman’s aggression was not right, and most of us would have felt some sort of irritation regarding her behavior; some sort of righteous indignation.

Indignation is typically defined as “… feeling or showing anger or contempt because of something that is unfair or wrong…” (Webster’s Dictionary). Righteous refers to our having the right to have said feelings. We are all very familiar with the term 'righteous indignation', but do we really understand its full meaning, “Having the right to feel irritation or anger about something wrong, unfair, or unjust?” This might seem to be a no-brainer as I can hear many readers indignantly thinking, “Well, I have the right to think or feel whatever I want!” However, let’s look at it a little more before we huff and puff and blow the blog down.

How often are we guilty of the same behavior as the woman on the plane?

We certainly might not be racist, but what about; standing across the room because we do not want to be seen with the type of persons over there, or waiting for the next elevator because we did not like the way someone who is riding looks, or taking a deep breath and standing a little bit taller when we felt dressed to kill and noticed someone’s passing gaze, or when we decide to criticize our dance partner for never getting the steps right, not leading or following correctly, or not being able to stay with the music? Our Righteous Indignations come in many forms. The other person; looked poorer, looked differently, looked unworthy, looked as if they did not fit into our perceived norms or standards of who/what we want to be/be seen with, or, in dance, might have heard, felt, interpreted differently a rhythm, movement, or lead.

In dance, I hear this far too often. Partners being righteously indignant with each other; each thinking that they are right, and thus, have the right to feel indignant (anger, frustration, intolerance) of the other. Regardless of whether either partner is virtually correct, neither has the right to think or feel whatever they please toward the other partner unless the indignant knows;

  • 150% of every aspect of their own dancing, AND

  • 150% of every aspect of the partner’s dancing (i.e., body make-up, muscle make-up, movement, health, physical capabilities, cognitive awareness/processing, and sensory/sensual stimuli), PLUS

  • every dance characteristic of every dance, the; steps, movements, rhythms, music, timing, space, dynamics, leads, follows, possible interpretations and artistries.

The most likely person to be able to do this would be the teacher, and many of us fail miserably at ‘knowing’ all of these attributes at every movement and step of every dance for both ourselves and our partners. Further, those of us who might, never experience righteous indignation, rather, compassionate compliance.

Far too often, we are un-righteously indignant as we intentionally/unintentionally tell others that if they are not doing, thinking, feeling, or being what we are, then they are wrong, or even worse, incapable of being, and thusly, not, or cannot be, even associated in our caste or class. We, then, set out to indignantly change their lives and paradigms to suit our own. We can see this in everything from global politics to dancing. Countries set out to indignantly change the ways of other countries who oppose the ways of the indignant. Leads set out to change the ways their partners dance in order to get the follower to conform to what is more comfortable for them, the lead. Followers set out to change the way their partners lead so that they, the follow, can continue to move or step in the ways that they deem to be correct and/or most comfortable. The solution is simple.....

Righteous Indignation can be normal and healthy, but it is usually overcome by Pompous Indignation (Pretentious Indignation).

Since this is a chat about dance and not the psyche or behaviors, we will close by simply stating the importance of 'Unimportance'; especially, when one is out to enjoy an evening of dance. [More on Righteous Indignation vs Pretentious Indignation may be found at] All physical activity promotes the release of endorphins to the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that promote satisfaction, happiness, euphoria, and pain tolerances. In a 2007 psychological study, it was theorized that dancing did more. It helped with calming, and conversely, it elevated moods to expanded senses of control and fulfillment. It is important that we dance. Negativisms such as pretentiousness, narcissism, greed, anger, inferior/superior complexes, and, ultimately, even public perceptions (in some occasions), are unimportant. These things will only serve to lessen the release of endorphins, and cause the opposite affects and outcomes of what is assumed to be desired. If we are to become better dancers, we must firstly become better persons. Realizing what is truly important is among the first steps. Realizing what dance truly is and truly has to offer, and how it can help us to actually become and remain better persons aids in bringing the journey full-circle.

As always, please write us at DanceKinesis; share thoughts, viewpoints, and questions. We are always happy to hear from you. Join us here for the blogs, or at for other info, lessons, and events. Join us at for our tango cruises and ballroom/Latin camps and marathons.

See you on the dance floors!

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