This wasn’t exactly UNUSUAL at that age, what with girls hitting puberty earlier, but my friends at the time (those assholes) were beside themselves with malicious laughter. Peer derision is a pretty effective deterrent at that age, and I desperately wanted to STOP dancing with the girl, but she kept asking me and I didn’t have the social confidence to refuse.
I remember an eighth-grade dance at my school where things got out of hand. This was before the youth of America were able to get their ya-yas out through sexting, and hormones wafted through the cafeteria like the armpit odor of some kid whose mother hadn’t bought him deodorant yet.
Pubescents with varying degrees of acne development were doing that dance where three people stand crotch-to-ass and grind up on each other. I also distinctly remember each of the girls taking off a guy’s tie and donning it around their foreheads like a male stripper had just tossed it from the stage during a bachelorette party.
It was gross. The chaperones did nothing until a young and puritanically minded Roger, fuming like Moses at the foot of the golden calf, went into an apoplectic rant about the base immorality of what was going on until the chaperones shut it down.
In my early 20s, I started to really enjoy dancing. At first, I wasn’t very good at it; I’m told I stomped a lot. My style sharpened through nights dancing at a now-shuttered sweatbox in New Paltz, until I was jumping on the stage to display my moves, which I like to describe as those of a highly sexed Transformer.
I haven’t danced much in the last few years. That is, until Dance Hour.
When not bringing you awesomeness at The Other Hudson Valley, I work at Camphill Hudson, an integrated, anthroposophical center for people with special needs. I honestly started at Camphill because I quit The Register-Star without much planning and needed a job.
However, I’ve grown to love the place and all the members who make up the community. It’s super-wholesome (especially compared to being a reporter), and this is fully on display during Dance Hour.
Dance Hour happens every other Tuesday, interspaced between Tuesdays when we do yoga. Yoga’s fun and all, but the members of the Camphill community (who we refer to as Friends) LOVE Dance Hour, and I always feel a little bad when they repeatedly ask me to confirm Dance Hour, and not yoga, will be happening next week while our yoga instructor is setting up.
The dance styles vary wildly, from Nicole, who has taken lessons and rhumbas and pirouettes across the floor with fluid verve, to my more tepid two-step, to Chris’ moves, which involve him leaping violently up and down to the beat with his face clenched into a look of intense joy.
The music I prefer to dance to (hip-hop and dubstep and trap) is WAY too profane for Dance Hour, so when it’s my turn to suggest a song, I usually go for The White Stripes or radio-edits of Rage Against the Machine. None of the friends like this music, however, so they all impatiently watch me head-bang until it’s time for some more ABBA.
We dance the macarena; we dance to Justin Timberlake and the Footloose soundtrack; we do the chicken dance, which, in all honesty, is one of the greatest dances ever created. One friend insists on always choosing the Property Brothers, but you can NOT dance to that shit.
The YMCA song is also in heavy rotation, and I don’t know about that one. Not because it’s a bad dance song — I mean, it’s pretty good — but because…just — what’s that song about anyway? I feel it’s about encouraging transient teens to have sex with strangers at homeless shelters. I mean, one of the dance moves is to hump the air to the beat.
If that’s acceptable, I should really be getting some trap on the playlist.
Another friend, Nicholas, is very tickled by the term “bubble butt.” He likes the alliteration and silly, PG-profanity of it. Unfortunately, he located a song called “Bubble Butt” a few weeks back and requested he play it during dance hour.
We YouTube the video it, hit play and…GIANT ASSES EVERYWHERE. It turned out the song was created by Major Lazer, the EDM/hip-hop production trio. It was INSANELY sexual, yet managed to rhyme “hearse” with “dirt,” coming off like something Patrick Bateman would fall asleep to.
We turned that one off pretty quick.
I’ve always said good dancing can’t be defined. It’s different for each person — to dance well, all you have to do is learn to set aside your inhibitions and physically express yourself.
I might not be able to pull my highly sexed Transformer moves at Dance Hour, but I still manage to have a fun time — wholesomely.
And then it’s time to go back to reporting.