Chubby Dancin’!

So even though, I was absolutely wrong about Mr. Chubby Checkers’ dance move breakthrough, I am going to write about it anyway. So there.

I remember hearing radio interviews of Mr. Checker and his emphatic insistence that he was the one who introduced the world to the concept of ‘Dancing apart to the beat.’ His contention seemed to be that he never really received his credit due. He wanted the listeners to know that he personally changed the Rock’N Roll universe with his dance moves, including but not limited to, the ‘Twist’.

Up until a couple minutes ago, I took this idea to mean that the dancer was moving ‘apart from the beat.’ Meaning that the person could shimmy or dip or twist or gyrate, regardless of the timing and the rhythm of the song…

Okay, it appears that I was wrong about that. I did some quick research, and I see know that dancing ‘apart to the beat’ means two dancers together, but not touching or holding each other, moving to the music as a pair…

Fine… anyway…

The thing that caught my attention in the last few days about this concept of ‘dancing apart from the beat’, (my original understanding) is how helpful it could be in everyday life.

What kind of ‘beats’ or rhythms or music score plays along as we navigate our daily routine. What is the melody of our work life, or our recreation, or our personal relationships? Do we hear harmonies with lively measures, delicate and intricate tickling our ears? Do we enjoy the experience of these energetic sound waves in our souls? Or do we painfully endure the constant crashing of cymbals backed by low-toned-static of thunderous bass lines, one overlapping the twenty before?

What if we reason that there are ‘beats’ and a natural orchestral soundtrack to the world we live in? Our life then is an opportunity to dance and to move with it. What then, do we do, when the music we seem to be hearing isn’t something that inspires us at all?

Well, that is the concept, that I thought Chubby, was talking about. I thought he was trying to teach me to dance apart from the beat. I must’ve wanted to hear that it is possible to detach, to release the tight grip of the ‘beat’ of my life, and just dance however I want to anyway. Not only do I want to learn to really trust and follow through with this idea, but I want to expand it.

The dance metaphor is fine enough, but what about a clearer version. Maybe we can learn to ‘think apart from the beat,’ or ‘react apart from the beat,’ or ‘give apart from the beat,’ or ‘love apart from the beat ’or even ‘forgive apart from the beat.’ Wow, now those ‘dances’ could get tricky.

The beat is the circumstances, good or bad, we see before us. The beat can be a situation caused by other people. It can be the results of choices we made in the past. The beat, can literally beat us down if we let it.

Just like any dance, the first few attempts are bound to be clumsy. Practice and practice and more practice will smooth out our moves.

Dancing apart from the beat, seems to be a challenge that God has laid on my heart this week. If it was easy, it wouldn’t have come from Him.

I wish all of you a great week of inspiring music in your soul. If it happens to be not playing today, dance like it is anyway. 🙂

Until next week,


Aaron Nichols

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