May Is Not Your Dancing Queen

The world may cringe all it wants, but Theresa May won’t stop dancing.

Thousands of articles and memes have come out against the Prime Minister’s dance moves, and yet it hasn’t stopped her from breaking a leg. The question is why?

Could it be that she really thinks she is good at it? After all she did tweet after her August tour to South Africa and Kenya where she was seen swaying with children: “Get in touch if you need any tips…#Strictly”

The media wants us to believe all her acts – including her moves at the Tory conference in October where she came out swinging over Abba’s Dancing Queen track – were ‘spontaneous’.

Like cat videos, there’s an audience out there for such content that makes otherwise awful leaders look more humane, cute even.

But world leaders never dance without purpose. They simply can’t operate that way. Everything is about political mileage, and in her case, it’s probably about political survival too, given that her own Tory party remains divided over her Brexit line. The opposition Labour party has also slammed her domestic policies, claiming it’s been a year of ‘Mayhem’ in the U.K. In times of such deep crises, a dance, no matter how awkward, helps to distract from real issues.”.

To be fair though, May is not the first leader to cash in on her dance. Login to YouTube and you’ll find many others, including Prince Charles and President Trump doing the sword dance with the most despotic leaders of gulf countries having poor human rights records; President Putin and his waltz — complete with his steely gaze and smile — with an anti-immigrant Austrian minister is also popular; and Pakistani ex-military dictator Gen. Musharraf’s shameless boogying on dance floors in the U.A.E. is also there for all to see.

Like cat videos, there’s an audience out there for such content that makes otherwise awful leaders look more humane, cute even. But then this begs the question, what is more worrisome: May’s dancing or the people who don’t realize that dance too can be used as a weapon in the battle of ideas? Food for thought. 

 

Salman Siddiqui (MA Global Creative & Cultural Industries)

Post Author: SOAS Spirit

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