The happy place is on the dance floor

Dayton author’s new book on nightclub dancing raises conscious questions

By Nick Schwab

Peter Pan was a character that went to his happy place to be more in touch with who he was. Hook was a character that may not have even been defeated if Pan hadn’t realized that there was more to himself than just his sense of reality,

In a sense, fictional characters are not the only ones who need to go somewhere to feel complete. Joe Lutz (pen name: Joey London) is a nightclub dancer that feels that the club dancing scene is his “happy place.” He even wrote a book about it.

“Trouble on the Dance Floor: The Complete Guide to Emergent Nightclub Dancing” is that book and it is the culmination of Lutz’s 25+ years as a nightclub dancer, mostly in the Dayton scene. The main place that he hangs out is Club Masque.

During these years, as he tells it, he has developed a style of dance called “Emergent Dance.” The book, which acts partly as a memoir of his 50th to his 51st year in both the club scene and his personal life, describes the state of mind that leads him to this type of dance. It is full of his opinions on the topics he discusses, and while talking to him it is apparent that it would make for an intriguing read.

“During these moments of ecstatic dancing, I have noticed that there is in fact something that I like to call a veil of conscious awareness,” Lutz said. This sense of consciousness is “something that separates who we think we are in our regular lives from a much vaster thing of primal self.”

This sense of “primal self” is described as the difference between non-conscious and the conscious reality.

“There is a non-conscious reality and when we begin to bring these primal thoughts up to our conscious mind, it is what constructs our reality that we claim as our own,” said Lutz. “It is where we differ as individuals, the way we create the reality that we claim as individual to our own.”

Lutz describes how during a night of dancing he can, “catch a glimpse of primal self — things we don’t normally bring to conscious thought. I can punch through and get a glimmer or a glimpse of this picture of what this primal self is.”

As the title of the book states, much like Pan’s antagonist Hook, there are also troubles on the dance floor that have to be overcome.

“If one wants to become successful on the dance floor, you have to anticipate and remove countless errors and troubles so you will be ready when the DJ starts playing,” said Lutz. “The two factors of the troubles generally have to do with perceptibility and control.

“As perceptibility increases the person will be more motivated, excited and compelled to have this dance music emerge from them,” Lutz said. “At the same time there is a risk. People do get a little crazy in the club. The first time they break through, they get out of control. They have to learn how to control themselves.”

A question raised about nightclub dancing, much like rave and dubstep culture, is whether certain things can maximize your experience.

Lutz states that they can, but that moderation is important.

“You don’t want the ‘catalysis’ to do the dancing though,” he noted. “You don’t have to do them to have fun, but you may need a lift. There’s nothing wrong with it, just don’t bludgeon yourself with it.”

Another question is whether his form of “Emergent Dancing” could be likened to a religious experience.

Lutz thinks that question is also a part of his conscious and non-conscious self theories.

“These voices that people think are gods speaking to them are, in fact, a primal brain reaching up to communicate with our conscious self,” said Lutz. “I think God is actually what happens when these unconscious thoughts and voices come to consciousness in oneself.”

If Lutz has to describe “Emergent Dancing,” it is more to do with a sense of heightened happiness.

“You gain a perspective from a high point, and the troubles of the rest of the world don’t seem as important,” he said. “You go through an emotional growth on the dance floor because you make yourself vulnerable. After you dance around your emotional issues, when you walk out …  things have changed.”

“Trouble on the Dance Floor: The Complete Guide to Emergent Nightclub Dancing” is available in print and Kindle on Amazon, as well as at Omega Music and the Record Gallery. He will also have a new novel “The 2012 Debates” that will be available in January.

Reach DCP freelance writer Nick Schwab at

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