There’s something rapturous about watching fabric spin so fast that discrete shapes dissolve into the blurred trails of after-image. Even a few seconds watching a gifted flag dancer are enough to flip a switch in your mind, unhooking part of your consciousness; it’s the outer border of trance.
The first story I remember hearing on the dance floor involving spinning was the story of Rumi. He was a 13th century scholar who taught by sharing the stories he gained in his many travels. He had many followers, and one changed his life forever. Rumi took Shams, a beautiful young dervish, for his lover. Their affair was cut short when, one night, Shams disappeared, never to be seen again.
Throughout gay history – whether hiding, rioting, grieving or celebrating, we’ve always had dancing. Music styles, DJs and venues come and go faster than the flash of a strobe light, but as sure as a mirrorball spins in every club, dance culture itself has and will remain a staple of gay life.