How to dance

This entry is part 10 of 39 in the series Manual


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Don’t merely spin; unspool.

Replace all your bones with strong, flexible, environmentally conscious bamboo.

Forget how to walk.

You’re not trying to depart; you’re trying to arrive.

Apprentice yourself to a flat tire. Get down!

You are 60% water by weight—start acting like it.

Evaporate. Precipitate. Flow.

Apprentice yourself to a tectonic plate. Subduct!

Practice by following distant celestial bodies through a telescope without a tripod.

Whatever you’re doing, do it while holding an infant.

Dance about architecture, yes, but also about demolition.

Dance on your last legs, which have waited long enough.

Contrary to received wisdom, it actually takes three people to tango, unless you think you can do it without an accordion.

If you can’t dance, don’t worry—it’s not your revolution.

Do-si-do and promenade. Change partners.

Let your partner also change you.

Dervishes whirl because the beloved could be anywhere, anywhere!

Don’t be in such a hurry to finish.


Thanks to RR for a couple of the lines and much of the inspiration.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Dave,
    I loved this! Perfect for Valentine’s.
    I’m going to work on evaporating and precipitating.


  2. Fantastic work Dave. Very appealing to this ex-choreographer who still dances in private around the easel, sometimes with Jack clasped in embrace in lieu of a bipedal partner! (He always looks happily astonished as I swoop and dive with him, then when I put him down, staggers a bit, shakes himself, and then barks insistently for a game of frisbee outside, pressing me to the studio door and chivvying me downstairs. Ever the opportunist!

    Your playful artistry with words always makes me smile in wonder!


    1. Clive, I’m happy and a little surprised that this piece managed to resonate with a former choreographer. I’m even happier to learn your probable Lakota name: Dances With Terriers. :)


  3. What I like best about this one is that it starts silly and random, and slowly becomes rather profound, while remaining silly.


    1. Thank you for that helpful analysis of why this might work. I was thinking about the possibly profound, sense-making part as a bug rather than a feature. :)


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