Rock 'n Roll Dance - Is It Heaven or is it Hell?

Winston Churchill wrote that after he died and arrived in Heaven he would like to spend a good deal of his first million years painting. I'm no artist, except with the BS perhaps, so after I die I think I would like to spend a good deal of my first million years dancing Rock 'n' Roll.

But just what will Rock 'n' Roll be like in Heaven? Perfect, of course. To begin with I will have a perfect partner who loves to dance with me only and gets it right 100 percent of the time. She will dress to perfection at all times, be great to look at, great to talk to and she will never get tired, never have a headache, never get sore feet, never be late and certainly never fail to show up. She will give me judicious breaks from dancing while she chats with her girlfriends, during which time I can try out some possible replacements for the future and she won't mind a bit.

The lighting will be romantic and the air will be clear since all the smokers will have gone to the other place. The temperature in the moderate-sized room will judiciously adjust itself to my body temperature at any given moment.

The dance-floor will be large but not too large because the place will have atmosphere. Lets say around 150 square metres. It will always be in perfect condition, automatically polishing itself every twenty-four hours (if they have such a thing as hours in Heaven). You might think that I would want the dance floor to myself and my perfect partner (as we all do) but actually, no! I would like to share it with four or five other couples who all keep at least three metres away from me at all times and whose dancing all looks positively amateurish compared to my partner and I. This is to make us look good in the eyes of the gawking crowd who sit watching mesmerised as we dance, wishing to God they could dance like we can. But since this is my Heaven God won't be granting them their wish.

For music there will be a live band (if you can call it that since we'll be no longer of this Earth) who do requests upon demand (mine, of course!). They will consist of a four-piece backing combo who continually rotate unfaltering lead vocalists (Elvis, Bill Halley, Buddy Holly, etc). They will play long sets and take short breaks - just long enough for me to have a quick refreshment, sit and chat for a while with my horde of admirers and visit the boys' room if required. During the band breaks a DJ will also play requests just for me and me alone.

Drinks will be free, delivered immediately by my own private, very cute and very friendly barmaid. Needless to say, no-one will take drinks anywhere near the dance-floor because in this place everyone is totally conscientious.

Yes, I can just see it all now. Its Rock 'n' Roll Dance Heaven in every way .....

Suddenly I feel three prongs of burning pain in my back as the temperature increases by 1000 degrees centigrade. I turn to face a slobbering apparition with horns, cloven hoof and a pointy tail prodding me with a trident. I enquire if this not-so-gentleman hasn't lost his way, since this is Heaven. He replies with a harrowing, fiendish laugh that he's the owner of this particular place and isn't Heaven at all. I ask where we are and he advises that the venue is called Club Super-Selfish. He explains that this is an entry examination to you-know-where for dancers and I've just passed with flying colours! My perfect Heaven vanishes and its getting hotter and hotter. It appears that Hell is where Rock 'n' Roll dancers who want it all to themselves get sent. Selfish people don't go to Heaven.

I am awoken from my reverie by a solid thump in my back as another dancing couple crashes into me on the postage-stamp-sized dance-floor. More bruises. The temperature increases by 1000 degrees centigrade, or so it feels. The air-conditioning in the crowded, noisy, smoke-filled pub isn't coping with the mid-summer heat. My partner, who arrived late after a hard day has sore feet and a head-ache. She wants to sit down. The singer misses another note, the band is soon going to break after playing barely half a bracket and there's no music in the break to dance to. No matter, the couple in the glittering, flashy clothes are making me look silly anyway. I can't get a drink because they're six-deep at the bar but if I slurp up a fraction of what gets slopped on the dance-floor I'll be well inebriated.

Back to the real Rock 'n' Roll Hell!

But if this is Hell, why am I here? The answer is simple. Because I love Rock 'n' Roll dancing. Its a community activity and unfortunately people weren't all born to suit my personal satisfaction. Everyone is here to enjoy themselves however they can doing whatever that amounts to. A bit more common sense at times certainly wouldn't go astray and a few dancers ought to be told where to go. For me, however, this really is Rock 'n' Roll Dance Heaven even if it feels a bit like Hell at times. I love the music, the dancing, the venues and the people even with their faults. I could happily spend a million years right here doing what I enjoy the most.

Gareth Eastwood is a Rock 'n Roll dance instructor and enthusiast in Adelaide, South Australia. He maintains a recently created website, in which he repeatedly stresses the need for dancers to be gentle with each other rather than dancing roughly. When fully developed the site will feature articles by numerous authors detailing dance styles and reporting on events.

He also created and manages Going Places With Gareth, a gigantic singles social network revolving around a long-established website The network has been operating since May, 2000. Since then over three and a half thousand people have become involved in it to some degree.