Archive for February 18th, 2008

At Last! EVERYBODY’S Dancing!! (1, 2 – Cha Cha Cha)

Monday, February 18th, 2008

In the 50s, the Jitterbug and Cha Cha were danced by young and old alike. Next, everybody accepted Chubby Checker’s invitation to “Twist” in the early 60′s. Disco ruled the late 70s, while line dances were the rage in the 80s. Since then, however, it has been nearly impossible to unite all ages on the dance floor. Rap and Hip Hop sent parents and grandparents running screaming from the room, while anything resembling organized ballroom dance steps were met with disdain from the under-30 crowd.

That is, until now.

The amazing success of TV’s Dancing With The Stars has stimulated a multi-generational interest in dance instruction not seen since Saturday Night Fever 30 years ago.

Sure, the kids call it “cheesy” – and they’re probably right. But it’s also fun, aerobic, and – done properly – elegantly romantic.

This past week, I conducted a one-afternoon “Crash Course Cotillion” for 30 high schoolers (who actually volunteered for my class). By the end of the day, all of them had mastered the basics of the Waltz, Swing, and Cha Cha. (Okay – “mastered” might be a small exaggeration. A few were still looking at their feet and counting “1-2-3″ out loud.) But they all were doing something recognizable even to old geezers like me as “dancing.”

At a recent wedding reception, I told the father-of-the-bride that I was impressed by how many bridesmaids and groomsmen were doing ballroom steps. He replied that the groom’s parents had provided a dance instructor at the rehearsal dinner, and that – with no urging at all – the young folks (and a few of their parents) had filled the dance floor to learn the moves. Next month, I will be working with a couples class from a local Baptist church who want to join in the fun. Wow – how times have changed! Not so long ago, we Baptists never danced (in front of each other.)

If you are planning a party, and really want to guarantee a full dance floor, consider a pre-event evening of dance instruction. [Important Tip: Afterwards, be sure your band or deejay knows the songs, styles, and speeds your crowd likes.] Then soon, for the first time in a l-o-n-g time, you will see everybody dancing!

And – ironically – it will be the Jitterbug and Cha Cha (those 50s favorites) that pack the floor. As Peter Allen sang, “Everything old is new again.” So – while it’s “in” – Let’s Dance!!