First the missile gap. Then the science-education gap. And now this: the woeful lack of dancing knowledge among our young people.
We find, to our dismay, that American children are far behind their counterparts in other developed societies. We even find that Rappahannock youth might be lagging behind their peers in Fauquier and other nearby counties!
The dancing gap was discovered just this past week when one of the agents of the Rappahannock Nonprofit Center was putting up a poster for the May 1 Spring Dance to be held at The Link in Sperryville. There was the agent, in mufti, conversing with young stalwarts at the supermarket in Warrenton, youth barely old enough to drive a car, who, on inspecting the dance poster, allowed that the dances offered are unknown to them!
One young man acknowledged that he not only cannot do the jitterbug, he does not know what it is! Not know the jitterbug? Unfamiliar with the Lindy-hop? Cannot lead a lady around the floor in a waltz? Think the tango might be that new drink from Coca-cola? Never learned the foxtrot, with its simple-as-can-be box step?
What have these children been doing? Is this what texting and tweeting has left us? A generation that has to sit out virtually all of the music? What have they been teaching over there in these schools of ours?
Algebra? Writing? Is there no teacher in our public schools who knows the value of forcing a 10-year-old boy to dance with a . . . with a . . . girl?
Throughout the 20th century in America we built character in our young people by ordering them to get out there on the floor and go uh-one, uh-two and learn to dance. We forced the girls into those awful dresses and the boys into little dark suits with the mandatory white gloves. Where does one buy white gloves in Rappahannock County, by the way?
This is how we became the great country that we are, by teaching our children to dance. This is how we rose to our position of leadership on the planet — by rolling back the rug and playing records and having the big sisters teach the little boys to know what it means to lead.
And now we discover that there are young people who never heard of a two-step. Well, this coming Saturday, at 7 in the evening, The Link in Sperryville becomes a school once again. There, the Nonprofit Center will have a dance instructor, one trained at Arthur Murray, showing folks the basic steps that they learned, or should have learned — at home or at school. And the deejay will play the music for the dance itself, which begins at 8 p.m.
It is all for the very good cause of supporting the Nonprofit Center, which offers assistance to every nonprofit group in the county, including churches and fire and rescue companies.
So come on out to the dance May 1. Plenty of free parking. Snacks and soft drinks and dancing, dancing, dancing. Come and give someone you know the opportunity to poke fun at you.
Admission is only $25 per person, in advance, by calling 540-675-1373 or 540-675-3152. (At the door, the price is $35.)
Help your country and your county by working to close this terrible dancing gap.