‘Have you heard of doggy dancing?’
This wasn’t the way that I’d anticipated introducing my frequent travelling companion, the urbane Dr A. But such a conversation opener demands its record.
In my innocence, I wasn’t really aware of the phenomenon of the doggy dancing, which Dr A tells me has taken America by storm, is incorporated into Crufts, and can even be found on primetime TV here in the UK. (Although I didn’t think Pudsey was ‘dancing’, but who am I to judge?)
Apparently the human tends to lead, with the dog frequently dancing backwards, reminding me of the famous quote about Fred Astaire’s dancing partner, ‘Sure he was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels’. This brought me to a sentence I never thought I’d utter, on a train or otherwise:
‘So is the dog the woman?’
And an interesting one to answer in terms of gender and canine politics, as there is, apparently, a preponderance of gay men who doggy dance. At this point, I decided the conversation was getting too confusing for a Tuesday night, and we turned to the relative merits of hamsters and horses as pets.
I tentatively Googled ‘Doggy Dancing’ later that evening, and came up with this rather fine merengue. (Now there’s a happy couple, if I ever saw one.) It also returned this piece in the Torygraph, reporting on the Kennel Club’s ban on certain doggy dance tricks (dog health & safety), and ‘rules against routines that are “degrading” to the dogs’. Ms Kisco, Club secretary, commented that ‘”They are allowed to wear a certain amount – perhaps the equivalent of a dog coat. But we would absolutely not expect the dog to turn up in a full Father Christmas Claus kit, for instance”‘. (Checking the publication date of this piece revealed it was not 1 April as initially suspected, but 19 August.)
Apparently humans can continue to wear whatever they wish, though perhaps Simon Cowell and his ilk might want to consider whether costumes and routines on their shows which are ‘extreme, unnatural or degrading’ should be referred to the human equivalent of the Kennel Club. (Though perhaps the Grammys already tried and failed to do this in the much-ridiculed Wardrobe Advisory.)
Next time, I promise to report on the more erudite conversations in which Dr A and I engage, but in the meantime, here’s some more doggy dancing, from the delightful Eleanor Powell and Buttons. That’s my doggy dancing style.