Nineteenth-century philosophers coined the term “hedgehog dilemma” to describe the conundrum faced by hedgehogs huddling together for warmth during the winter. If they huddle too closely, they hurt each other with their spines. If they maintain greater distance, they become too cold. The challenge is to find an optimal distance, in which a few occasional pricks are endured in order to get some warmth. Philosophers viewed this situation as a metaphor for human relationships: close intimacy contains the risk of mutual harm.
Inspired by the humorous movements of a friend's pet hedgehog, I imagined a fanciful scenario: a disco-loving hedgehog in search of a partner for the 1970's couples dance known as “the hustle.” Unfortunately, he and his partner keep sticking each other with their spines (represented by the pizzicato in the strings), and his partner abandons him. Our hero sadly contemplates his future, destined to dance alone. However, the music gives him courage, and he concludes with an exuberant dance solo.
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