Had a nice campfire going a few weeks ago. A warm evening, I was out around midnight, in one hand a stick to poke the fire, in the other hand a beer. A creek was murmuring a few yards away. There were stars in the sky, and bats. My canoe was tied to a stump and bumping against rocks when the lake ripples rolled in. It's a wooden canoe and makes sonorous thunk when it bumps, not the clangorous scrape of an aluminum spam can; a sixteen-foot beauty I built in my garage. How many modern day experiences do you share with your ancestors from a thousand generations ago? The fire, the creek, a dugout canoe you dug out with a stone axe, possibly even the beer but certainly not the bottle. These things are in our bones and nerves. Have you ever noticed people around a campfire at night? Everyone stares into the fire. Today no one really knows why we do that, but it's what we did for thousands of generations and it seems like the natural thing. Who was the first person to dance? Who was the first person to sing, or to hit a hollow log rhythmically with a stick? Were these things invented or were they something our unibrowed prehistoric ancestors just did, like walking or breathing, without thinking of them as anything extra- or unordinary? Other animals dance, and I'll bet they don't have a bronze syllabus. Dancing and music are very similar things (hey P&B, say something else profound). Good music touches a part of the mind that is much deeper than language can reach. I think dancing touches the same part. And I think (speaking now on the basis of absolutely no relevant expertise whatsoever) this part of the mind is carried over from the most formative generations of our species. This is the part of the mind that responds to camp fires and bats but not neon lights and cell phone towers; that responds to the sounds of natural running water and wood hitting rocks but not faucets and aluminum. Dancing, like music, like staring into the camp fire, is one of the things the connects us to what it most deeply means to be human.