It struck me hard when I saw a video of her dancing with husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, following a speech in Des Moines. They did a perky couple dance called “Swing,” once called the “Lindy,” short for “Lindy Hop,” honoring Charles Lindberg’s 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. You hardly see it anymore because it demands coordination between partners. These days, couples dance less with each other than near each other, each doing his or her own moves. Watching the Bachmanns dance, I thought of something Martha Graham said: “Movement never lies.”
The Lindy, or Swing, if you prefer, has a tricky six-beat step against a musical eight. Partners cling together and must stay keenly aware of each other’s moves, not a dance for dreamy lovers. The Bachmanns pulled apart and drew back together, cut smooth figure-eights, she twirling under his extended arm, `never breaking contact. Dr. Bachmann is beefy but light on his feet, like Jackie Gleason or John Belushi, and he led strongly, as one would expect considering their view of a proper male-female relationship. Their fans, clapping on the downbeat, ate it up.
Michele smiled, but less with pleasure than dogged determination. She moved with high energy and a continuous bounce, like a rocker arm on an old V-8 engine, or a basketball dribbled inches from the ground, moving unstoppably and mechanically, like a wooden ballerina in a Swiss cuckoo clock when it strikes the hour.
Michele Bachmann’s movement message came loud and clear: “This is my world and it better be yours because it’s my way or the highway.”