THE cold hard
Evolution Of Mom Dancing
(w/ Jimmy Fallon & Michelle Obama)
Two years ago I organized a much needed intervention.
It was long overdue. If we didn't address the problem soon, it could end up permanently marring some perfectly good reputations. We decided to approach it head on - disguised as a party. Invitations went out. It was only minutes before the RSVPs started rolling in. I don't think one single person declined. They started asking what they could bring, how could they help? I said quietly, "just spread the word and make sure we haven't forgotten anyone." I hired a facilitator. I knew she would be good; she'd come highly recommended. She was younger than us (we were boomer moms) and I was hopeful she would bring fresh insight to the situation. We would follow her lead.
The day of the party I put out refreshments. We would probably need some alcohol to help this along. There were 35 moms coming. As the starting time grew near... I drew the curtains. We couldn't risk the neighbors peeking in. My kids were at a friend's house (they'd left on their own) they did not want to witness any of this. Our leader arrived, her name was Kellie. The minute I saw her I knew we were in good hands. She went to the living room to set up. The guests started arriving - unusually early. Even our late friends were early. It was obvious - everyone was eager to get this done. You see, we are all really bad
It was a "Dance Makeover Party" - an intervention of the ugliest kind. The idea was born out of disgust and desperation. Having recently been to a wedding and sickening my own self with my pathetic dance moves, I decided I can't take it anymore. I decided to take action and call in the troops (my girlfriends) because for an intervention like this, it takes a village. Goodbye to this bad boy. Good riddance, bad-dance. A one hour blitzkrieg led by dance instructor Sargeant Kellie would kill the enemy dead and render us rulers of our own body movements.
Unlike other interventions, this isn't a case of mind over matter. This is purely physical. Kellie said we had no time to waste and gathered us 'round like kindergartners for story time. You've never seen grown women hup-to faster. We were all ears. Bad-dance is rampant in our age group. As we listened attentively Kellie did a run-down of the evening. First, we needed to say goodbye to our old moves. Goodbye forever to finger snapping, pointing, clapping, and 2 stepping she warned. She made it ceremonial, having us form two lines a la Soul Train. One by one we danced through the tunnel, vowing never to snap/point/clap again while dancing. Ironically we laughed at each other thinking "I'm not as bad as that." Kellie then had us sit on the floor as she explained the 8 moves she was going to teach us. When I hired her I said we didn't need anything choreographed or complicated (like our daughters' dance classes..) I said "a few new moves that we could string together" would be fine. Kellie got the hint. She distributed a hand out which was a list of 7 dance moves - and she named them for us so we could keep them straight. She said the goal of the evening was for us to know the move when she calls it by name. We nodded our heads, "got it" believing that bad-dance-riddance was going to just happen.
We really tried. And we were pathetic. We kept lapsing into our old moves ... we did not know what to do with our hands. What started off as a funny joke became so not funny as the possibility of 'no cure' became apparent. Kellie got frustrated and snapped at us, "STOP SNAPPING!" She wasn't prepared for this adult chaos. She would call out a dance step and we'd all stop moving - to think. The short term memory was a disaster. We were confused; all the moves were starting to feel the same. But they weren't. Names like 'Lumberjack', 'Back Up Singer', 'Single Single Double Double', 'Raise the Roof', 'Double Pull', and 'Hips Around the World' literally described the actual move. We didn't get it. And there's always one jokester in the crowd. Okay, it was me. The more frustrated I was, the sassier I got. I was quite cheeky for a hostess. My wisecracks cracked up my friends. We were falling apart fast. We needed more and more breaks to wet our whistles. Kellie was losing control but we were having a blast. And we did learn stuff. We just mostly forgot it later.
Last night I went to a 50th birthday party where the living room was transformed into a dance club with DJ and music videos. We danced all night. Bad-dance was everywhere. I grabbed my video camera - there was so much evidence for this blog post! Boomers were hopping, air-guitaring, bumping, pointing, clapping and snapping. Mark got me in the video too - I'm still pathetic. I put the camera down.
Jimmy Fallon nailed us. I've been wanting to write a blog about mom dancing for a long time. When his video came out 2 days ago I knew it was time. I kept monitoring the number of views on his YouTube video. I saw it early at 2500 views. Yesterday every hour the number went up exponentially. Tonight it has over 3 million views. It might be because it's Jimmy Fallon. But I think it's also because every mom on the planet is watching. And cringing. And thinking, "I'm not as bad as that" ...
I'm going to the Jimmy Fallon Show this Wednesday. I'm a huge fan and will chuckle even more when I think of his wig and pink cardigan.
Val Haller Founder, Valslist.com Music
Read Val's weekly post on New York Times
Subscribe to Val's Blog Read Older Posts Like us on Facebook