Washington is frequently accused of not dancing at rock shows. I must admit this to be true, but as a native Washingtonian and a non-dancer, except when one is keeping score, I have never had a problem with this accusation. It is a sad state of affairs if you require me, or someone else, to be dancing in order to enjoy a rock concert.
I have never really thought about why D.C. doesn't dance, but someone offered an interesting hypothesis in J. Freedom du Lac's Post Chat yesterday. I'll quote the whole thing to save you the effort of finding it:
"The authority conundrum was quite graphically illustrated in D.C. during the early to mid-nineties when Fugazi started offering frat-guys their money back when mosh pits were created during their sets. Audience-members started seeing the disdain that violently thrashing about could elicit from an authoritative source (in this case, Ian). As time progressed, not only was violently moshing frowned upon, but so was dancing and later, any movement whatsoever-- to the point now at which the correct standard posture for a D.C. rock show is arms-folded, eyes straight ahead (I can't take credit for this thesis; this idea was first set forth in an excellent yet now-defunct online zine called the "Finley Breeze")."The quote occurs in a larger context of the effect Pitchfork has on indie rock. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it at least seems plausible. Most of this process occurred before I started going to concerts, so I don't know if people use to dance in the pre-Dischord era. I do know that Fugazi would stop concerts if they saw a mosh pit, and Ian MacKaye's influence over this city's rock scene is undeniable.
Has anyone heard this hypothesis before? Does anyone have any other explanations as to why we don't "shake it?"