Stephen Fry Hates Dancing: Watch Fry’s Rant Against Dancing Get Turned into a Wonderful Interpretative Dance

Danc­ing, says Stephen Fry in a vehe­ment dia­tribe, is “not so much an accom­plish­ment as an afflic­tion.” He deliv­ers this pro­nounce­ment against danc­ing in one of his “pod­grams,” as he calls them, pod­casts in which the actor/writer/comedian/media per­son­al­i­ty rants, rhap­sodizes, and ram­bles on about his favorite—and least favorite—subjects. Danc­ing falls so far afoul of Stephen Fry that he devotes near­ly an entire episode to his hatred of this uni­ver­sal form of human phys­i­cal expres­sion.

“I hate doing it myself,” he begins, “which I can’t do any­way, but I loathe and detest the neces­si­ty to try.” He would deny oth­ers the plea­sure as well, at least in his com­pa­ny, of “that sloven­ly mix­ture of sex­u­al exhi­bi­tion­ism, strut­ting con­tempt, and repel­lant nar­cis­sism.” Is Fry a dance snob? Does he hate pop­u­lar dance but love ball­room and bal­let? No. “I hate it when it’s form­less, mean­ing­less bop­ping,” he seethes, “and I hate it even more when it’s for­mal and chore­o­graphed into gen­res like ball­room and schooled dis­co. Those cavort­ings are so embar­rass­ing and dread­ful as to force my hand to my mouth.”

We get it, Stephen, give it a rest! But no, he isn’t done. He goes on, for eleven whole min­utes, in the anti-danc­ing harangue above, excerpt­ed from his “Bored of the Dance.” How could one pos­si­bly respond to such a tor­rent of dis­gust and dis­dain? By danc­ing to it, of course. In the video at the top of the post, that’s exact­ly what L.A.-based dancer and film­mak­er Jo Roy does, for near­ly two and half minutes—enough time, I’m sure, to make Stephen Fry die of embar­rass­ment.

Maybe Fry has the good humor to appre­ci­ate this offen­sive rejoin­der, but I doubt he could stand to watch Roy twist, twirl, hop, pop, lock, and ges­ture expres­sive­ly to his vicious attack on the dance.

But there’s much more to Fry’s hatred of dance than cur­mud­geon­ly prud­ery. His anti-danc­ing man­i­festo is almost a digres­sion, real­ly, in the scope of his longer “pod­gram,” which you can read in full at his web­site. What he’s get­ting at is why he prefers clas­si­cal music to modern—and it is not, he insists, because of snob­bery, but because pop­u­lar music—“country, blues, rock and roll, gospel, zyde­co, jazz, swing, Tin Pan Alley, roots, blue­grass, hill­bil­ly… funk, soul, mo’town, rap, hip-hop, house, R and B”—is dance music. And Stephen Fry hates danc­ing. He is “aller­gic” to danc­ing.

“Clas­si­cal music,” on the oth­er hand, he says, “is there to be lis­tened to. It doesn’t make it bet­ter. I real­ly, real­ly mean that I do not believe that it makes it bet­ter, and I despise the snob­bery and igno­rance that is con­vinced oth­er­wise. But it does make it bet­ter suit­ed to Stephens.” As he says, quot­ing Riv­er Phoenix’s char­ac­ter in Sid­ney Lumet’s Run­ning on Emp­ty, “You can’t dance to Beethoven.” And that’s just fine with Stephen. By the end of his pro­lix apol­o­gy for his clas­si­cal pref­er­ence (not snobbery!)—which ranges in ref­er­ence from Lumet to Led Zep­pelin and Abba to Jane Austen—we believe him.

Stephen Fry hates danc­ing, per­haps more than any­one has ever hat­ed danc­ing. See him go on record again in the clip above from the BBC’s The One Show, and imag­ine how appalled he would be, if he could bring him­self to watch it, by the dance-off response at the top.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Fry, Lan­guage Enthu­si­ast, Defends The “Unnec­es­sary” Art Of Swear­ing

Stephen Fry Launch­es Pin­dex, a “Pin­ter­est for Edu­ca­tion”

Stephen Fry Explains Human­ism in 4 Ani­mat­ed Videos: Hap­pi­ness, Truth and the Mean­ing of Life & Death

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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