Shall We Dance - Prologue Marie_Suzuki
Thu Nov 6 22:27:27 EST 1997

Reading recent exchange on how ballroom dancing is or has been viewed in
Japan, I wanted to make a casual comment on the subject.

Although we who live in or around Tokyo certainly witness many dance
specialty shops, dance classes, clubs, TV programs, etc. I myself had never
thought it was popular.  Many prominent universities have dance societies
and clubs, and they enter competitions enthusiastically, I felt that they
are a bit peculiar people.  It is true that back in the Meiji era, ballroom
dancing was quite fashionable, and even after the Second World War, going
to dance was not something strange to do.  However,  I have never met
anyone who actually did practice ballroom dancing, except two friends used
to dance while in college.  To the majority of us, going to dance means
going to discos, I suppose.

I've never been to (ballroom) dance clubs, but heard that there were only
middle to old aged couples and women groups.  If you happen to be a young
man learning ballroom dancing, you will meet plenty of would be partners,
they said.  That's why I've been wondering who goes to dance, and how so
many dance schools can survive....

After _Shall We Dance?_ it is said that many more people began ballroom
dancing, so it may be changing, but my peers do not seem to following this
trend.  Perhaps, by now, all the businessmen have quit ballroom dancing and
started Japanese calligraphy.  That's what I'm told, after Morita's and TV
drama version of  _Shitsurakuen_!

Marie Suzuki
The Japan Foundation

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