star-trek-the-next-generation

Imagine Data Teaching You How to Dance

Imagine Data Teaching You How to Dance

Requested by: Anonymous

A/N: Sorry for being gone so long guys! But good news I’m done with school for the year and officially on summer vacation! Thank you all for being so patient and I hope you enjoy!

The holodeck was programed to a dance studio with mirrored walls and wooden floors. There was music playing.

Ballroom music.

You had found yourself being more stressed than normal and in capable of winding down in your off time. Counselor Troi had recommended you get a hobby, having always wanted to learn how to dance you asked if she knew anyone who could teach you. That was how you ended up in this situation with Data.

“Do not worry [______], we will be starting off quite simple with a basic box step formatted dance.” He said setting up a tape square on the floor.

“Now then place your left hand on my shoulder and I will place my right hand on your left side.”

“Alright” you followed his instructions and set your hand on his shoulder.

Data took your free hand in his and brought them clasped between you.

“Now then, when I move my foot backwards you are to follow in the motion.”

He began to move his foot back and you followed moving from the front right corner of the tape square to the back right corner of the square.

“Next we move our opposite feet backwards as well as bring the feet we moved back initially to meet with them.”

“Alright”

You moved your foot back in unison with his then dragged the other foot to meet it.

“Now, we mirror our actions with you being the party that moves foreword continuing in the box motion.”

“This is, surprisingly simple Data. I’ve always thought ball room dancing was complicated”

“While yes some forms of ball room dancing are more complex this is a relatively simple dance which I saw as appropriate for a first lesson.”

You nodded, keeping pace with Data until he surprised you by letting go of your hip and twirling you. He brought you back into step immediately after the spin but the pace had quickened.

“I think I’m getting the hang of this!”

“I believe you are [_______], although if you keep accelerating your pace you may-”

He cut off when you stumbled over his foot and braced you so you didn’t fall.

“Fall” he finished

“Sorry Data”

“It is quite alright [_____], it is only your first lesson and mistakes are to be expected. For a first attempt you did quite well.”

“Thanks Data, same time next week?”

“Of course.”

I love the Star Trek trend of characters who present themselves as loyal, exemplary members of their cultures but end up inadvertently or begrudgingly subverting tradition and becoming vanguards of major sociopolitical change.

Like we have Worf, originally introduced as this archetype of Klingon values; the guy who applies his strict honor-and-tradition moral compass to every situation, who has to be talked into bending the rules by both of his captains, whose interior design aesthetic is just knives. And yet everything he does has ripple effects throughout Klingon society. He’s the first Klingon in Starfleet, the traitorous son of Mogh, the reason Gowron has any significance at all, hell, he even becomes the deciding vote on whether to allow a clone of Kahless to become a religious figure on Qo'noS. And yet throughout all that we see him defending tradition to Alexander and butting heads with Odo on the concept of what law enforcement should mean. But when it comes to his actual effect on Klingon society, on the very definition of Klingon-ness, Worf is a revolutionary (as much as that would pain him to admit).

And then there’s Quark. He adheres so strongly to Ferengi customs, and yet he works to change them, sometimes accidentally through association and sometimes actively, through his own doing. He attributes his slip-ups in following the Rules of Acquisition to living on a station full of Federation and Bajoran ideals. But look at his family: he has a liberated feminist mother, his brother is an engineering genius and one-time union man, and his nephew is in (unprofitable) Starfleet. He claims not to respect “females,” but has relationships with Pel, Grilka, and Natima Lang (aka basically the three strongest-minded women he could possibly find) and a long-standing friendship with Dax. He defies the dogma of profit to prevent a genocide and nearly dies on a damn mountain to save a cop. And that’s not even mentioning the tangible impact he has on Ferengi politics and society through Brunt and the Grand Nagus. But every Quark episode basically ends with him shrugging and saying “I did it for the latinum”. Like NO you didn’t, bud, you’re a damn liar and also a revolutionary.

Honestly this trend applies to so many Star Trek characters. Spock (Extremely Vulcan Man feels everything deeply all the time and loves Kirk so much that he becomes a literal ambassador for Kirk’s values) Garak and Damar (spend a ton of time defending the State, then become actual resistance fighters who destroy the State to save Cardassia, as it were), even Seven of Nine could fit in this category (as someone who strives for Borg perfection but consistently undermines that goal by fighting for the individuality of herself and other drones).

This is one of my favorite things about Star Trek, because it’s an inherently complex concept but also one that rings true to anyone who both loves and critiques their home culture. Because you can do both. You can cherish some traditions and break others, because doing the real hard work of changing your society for the better doesn’t defy love for your culture, it requires it. It’s the necessary counterbalance to blind nationalism, the unstoppable force that keeps us moving forward. It’s an immensely positive, rewarding view of culture and I’m so glad that Star Trek has always promoted it.