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Leading article: Lord of the dance

As a freshly minted United States President proved this week, a well-delivered speech can do wonders for your popularity, but if you really want to melt the public's heart, you've got to move your body on the dance floor.

But is there not a deeper message for all of us contained in Barack Obama's willingness to strut his stuff in the spotlight despite having passed the age at which many of us hang up our dancing shoes?

The great writers and poets certainly had no time for the modern Western embarrassment that attaches to dancing in public. D H Lawrence said that: "We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive and part of the living, incarnate cosmos." W H Auden implored us to: "Dance till the stars come down from the rafters."

But perhaps the most useful advice on the subject comes from Samuel Beckett who advised us to: "Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order." Yes we can?