I am a rubbish dancer. There's no point pretending otherwise. A West Indian mate of mine, when we were younger, once asked me to dance. When I asked why, he said he needed a laugh. It didn't exactly encourage me.
Well, I guess some people can do it, Jeremy, and some people can't. Or can they? I think it depends on what we think dancing is for.
An ancient poet once spoke about how God turns our mourning into dancing, and I know what he meant. I'm just not sure it tells the whole story. For many people – and just ask some of those children in real need – it is their happiness that is turned into mourning when tragedy or failure invade their life and turn it dark. (This is what the Blues is for – to give voice and mood to the sadder side of life.)
Well, along with that ancient poet, we are making a mistake if we think that dancing is always jolly or happy. Strictly speaking, dancing involves the whole body giving expression to the whole of human experience – and that means we can dance our grief and our sadness and our failure as well as the Cha-Cha, the samba or the jive (and I don't know what any of those are).
I think this is one way of understanding what Children in Need is all about: shining a different light into the darkness and enabling – or inviting – children to dance. Not to pretend everything is OK or that life can be transformed instantly into something happy-clappy. In other words, dancing the slowie is as valid and important as dancing the quickstep.
In one sense, this is obvious. We shouldn't be too quick to shake off the heavy heart when it actually needs to be heavy. Like dancing, love has to face reality in all its guises: shallow love is no use to anybody. But, having said all that, you can't help but be cheered by the enthusiasm of those who thought they couldn't dance at all, only to find that the rhythm was in them somewhere.
So, hit the dance floor of life with the steps that tell the truth. And if you want to be loving to me, don't laugh at my dancing.