I woke up on 15th March 2018 to discover that the Punjab Assembly has made a global name for itself by banning dance in schools and other educational institutions. This resolution was passed to ‘stop vulgarity and promotion of Western culture among the youth’. Parents, students and the civil society condemned it for politicians had no business interfering with matters related to school, education authorities and parents. No other provincial Assembly followed suit. Political pundits noted this as a desperate attempt by PMLN to recover the lost religious ground/votes due to their earlier suicidal attempt of tinkering with the blasphemy laws. I must confess that I am hopeless at dancing. Some rudimentary attempts in my childhood, as captured on camera, also tell a sorry tale. A supplementary disclosure is about my ultimate dancing glory when I performed folk dance, as one of over hundred school children, in front of none other than Z A Bhutto at Fortress Stadium, Lahore. I feel greatly relieved for being ahead of my time (from the dance-ban resolution) otherwise my lack of dance-talent would have remained hidden from everybody including myself. As I get older, I try and make every day count by living in the moment, taking the road less travelled, expressing love, hopping to the inner music and by embracing my well-being. I, therefore, do not agree with those who view dance as anti-religion, untidy mixture of sexual exhibitionism, a strutting contempt or repellant narcissism. I believe poetry and music are timeless and painting belongs to the divine realm; but dancing resides firmly both in human time, and space. Life itself is a dance of nature. Those who dance fascinate me. It is really a marvel how sheer vitality as a life force is translated into action through their unique human motion. In those moments, if they try to block it, no other medium could sustain it, and it would be lost to the world forever. When people dance, they do not object, criticise, hate or discriminate against anyone — they can only be happy and carefree. It gives them nothing material in return, except those fleeting magical moments, when they feel alive. The ecstasy of their unrepressed movements enters the stillness of their inner selves. Dance a cultural expression, which tells stories from our collective unconscious through a subtle drama, in an otherwise classical prototype. Dancing is also merriment with something primal about it I am also fascinated by those who hate dancing. They believe dancing is not an accomplishment but an affliction. They not only hate doing it themselves, but also loathe the necessity to try. They abhor the formless and meaningless bobbing as well as when it is formal and choreographed into genres like ballroom and Bhangra. You would often find them at a wedding where everyone is dancing, sitting in the corner eating desert at a frantic speed while pretending to be occupied by their phones. Why do humans dance? Firstly, they do because they can. It is a cultural expression, which tells stories from our collective unconscious through a subtle drama, in an otherwise classical prototype. Dancing is also merriment with something primal about it, which is greater than us. It may take certain courage to be able to put ourselves out there but all of us have ‘our songs’ at a conscious and unconscious level. When they are played, it is difficult to stop losing ourselves into the music. Dance is an ultimate social hubbub that revolves around connecting and opening ourselves to new people and known people. It is said that if you want to understand a culture, you need to study their dance. For example, they danced in South Africa as a form of uprising against the apartheid. In our part of the world, we danced because there was literally no tomorrow, as the next wave of invaders from the North-West was always round the corner. We, therefore, danced to drown the sad music rising from within. Dance also provides a break, especially for women, and is their rebellion against historical subjugation. When the opportunity comes, women dance, and it doesn’t matter if they are out of sync. It is their dance; it is their moment. Dance comes naturally when we are young but fades away as we get older. People, especially men, stop dancing because they feel self-conscious until someone says, “Come dance with me” by taking their hand (We confess to them later that we already were). When life-stressors take over, there is a need for cutting loose in sync with the beats of our hearts. As humans, we may dance anywhere, for any reason, with whatever excuse we prefer. The fact that humans can is what really matters. So, keeping within culture and traditions, do your dance. Some dance because they want to, others because they have to; some do it for fitness, others to show off their skills. We are designed to dance by using our bodies as instruments of elegance, beauty and intrigue. Dance is the language as well as the landscape of our souls. Some say it is scared, for others it is a prayer for the rain. Whatever it is, just dance before the day you think,” I should have danced when I had no fear of falling”. The writer is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Visiting Professor. Twetter @AamerSarfarz Published in Daily Times, March 20th 2018.