Dance of Joy with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”
It’s supposed to be the season of joy but, with so many tragic headlines, I think we are all feeling a little lost. I can’t make sense of what seems beyond reason here, but I can hopefully provide a little lift, a smile of silly senselessness. And isn’t that often what theater is for?
So, as you may recall, the 5th Dimension version of “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from Hair is my dance of joy (see the original version here and prepare to have your psychedelic mind blown). From the age of about 4, my parents would put on the record and I would do a raucously improvisatory series of movements, mainly centered around hip thrusts. I can only imagine what my parents thought of their little Gypsy Rose Lee in training. The best part is, no matter my mood, whenever I hear the song start, no matter how old I get (and let me say for the record, I am not 4 anymore), I still do that SAME dance.
Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I see that I am not alone. So here’s to finding joy again, even for one silly shining moment…
For you traditionalists, here is the Broadway revival cast performing on David Letterman. They get points for climbing on audience members. I have been known to do the same when I perform it.
Anyone who thinks my version is, perhaps, a tad white boy and lacking in soul, well…have you seen Andy Williams and the Osmond Brothers sing it? Everyone has a little groove thing in them. And I bet if you gave little Donny some caffeine, he’d start seeing the mind’s true liberation.
The dance of joy may have its foundation in American counter culture but it knows no boundaries. Witness the summer of love as depicted on a Polish (I believe) variety show. You got to love thirty people waiting in a car for the beeyotch with the keys. Come on, babe, we’re gonna be late for the drug-orgy/robot dance competition!
Finally, in spirit and tone, this is the closest to my dance of joy. Though Ms. Campanella may lack my pure intensity of hip thrusts, she makes up for it in costuming. I want that belt.
Life is, indeed, good.