UNH Speakers Bureau
When You Walk Do You Feel Like You Are Dancing?
A young man studying at drama school in NYC in the early 70’s receives a free ticket to a concert given by the Atlantic City Steel Pier Band. He goes, and finds himself the youngest person there. He observes his fellow concertgoers: most of them are much older, and they are arriving in taxis and cars, being helped down the aisles, using canes and walkers—unable to walk unassisted. As the band begins to play music of the 30’s and 40’s, he sees throughout the audience heads nodding in time, then shoulders beginning to keep the beat as well. Soon, feet are tapping, bodies swaying. By intermission, those same people who could not walk unassisted discard their walkers and canes and are up and dancing together in the aisles. It is as if they have rediscovered their youth. What could have caused this extraordinary reversal? Is it, as many poets and philosophers have noted, the “power of music”? Or is there something else happening? How does a body, which feels creaky and stiff with age and rheumatism, suddenly find the springing step of youth? The answer, it turns out, can be found in the body’s natural energy sources.