Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dance! Dance! Dance! Michael Jackson and the Hokee Pokee

The Ward had a Dance last night and last Sunday several people had invited us to come.   Young and old were invited to the Dance.  My mental perception of what could that look like fascinated me; what music would they play, how would they mix the generations dance styles, would anyone dance or line the walls in shyness, would it look like an old fashioned barn dance, what would people wear?   So Friday I spent some time preparing for this Dance not unlike I might prepare for a dinner night out with my husband.  Did the whole routine, shower, hair, makeup, choose the right clothing and accessories thing.  And off we went - to the Dance!

It has snowed here these past two days, and we don't typically have snow, therefore ice on the roads to contend with - rain, wind and flooding, yes that is more the kind of weather we get here.  I wondered if the snow would cause people not to turn out for the Dance.  When we arrived, there were maybe 5 cars, so it looked to me like it would be a poor turnout, likely because of the snow.   We went into the recreation hall, and it was already set up with the refreshment table and the round tables with chairs.  Our young missionaries were there accompanying the newly baptized man and the other man who participates in our 'discussions'.   I was pleased to see the four of them, not sure who was accompanying who, but relieved that we wouldn't be the only new kids there.

So, the music started up, boombox type player with speakers (actually more elaborate than I've described, but that's the idea of it), and lively dance music was coming out of the speakers.   I looked around and people were dressed casual to very casual, comfortable, young fashionable for the younger set, and dressy.  Good mix, so no dress code here.  And the wee kidlets to the children, to the youngsters, to the teens, to the young adults began to dance.  Great, it will be multi generational dancing, so not too much intimidation on dance style.  I find myself relaxing immediately.

The young lady who seems to be the impetus behind encouraging people to dance obviously has trained dance skills, and I appreciate how she encourages the youngsters.  The music flows nicely between generations, to include some basic line type dancing where people can learn the steps and participate, to some of favorites from the rock n roll era, a not too rap rap, something from today's genre of music, and then there is Michael Jackson's Thriller.   Oops, not too many dancers know what steps to do with that one short of the ghoulish hands.

 And people are continually arriving, more children, more young people, more teens, more young parents, and people are dancing!   A small collection in one corner of preteen boys and a small collection in another corner of preteen girls (isn't that normal!) and our dance instructor manages to get most everyone dancing at some time during the evening.

And then there is the Chicken Dance.  Woo Hoo!   I tell the young missionary that this is a dance frequently used at weddings.  He makes a face.  I clarify, no, not temple weddings, and usually people have had a bit to drink.  Then I think about it, and clarify again, no not at the wedding itself, at the reception afterwards.  Then I think about it and clarify again, the music speeds up and by the end of the tune, people are Chicken Dancing at lightning speed.   Then he smiles, and says he gets it and I am relieved that hopefully I painted more a picture of people having fun but no way to know what images he depicted in his mind.

The refreshments quickly disappear, and I'm tickled to see tots and toddlers out there moving to the music right along with the older sets.   When we first arrived I met a woman and her mother who were setting up the refreshment table, and I learned the young lady leading most of the dances was daughter, so three generations of women are there, and I figure grandmother and mother will be sitting out most of the dances.  Not so!  Both mother and grandmother did just about every single dance with the daughter the entire two hours.  How's that for stamina!   They get my applause for sure.

Mother is wife of our local Dentist who I understand was formerly the Bishop of this Ward.  He danced some of the dances with them and it was fun to see a professional in a different light.  Of course, I tend to be rather frightened of the whole dentist experience anyway, so it was great not to be seeing him seated in a chair with my mouth open and dentist tools arrayed ready to attack my teeth.

The current Bishop and his wife are there, and he is wearing his casual clothes, so much the style of the people who live in our area, and how cool is that to see a hometown dressed sort of guy whom when we first met was wearing the obligatory suit, white shirt and tie.  His wife is dressed comfortably, dress and scarf shawl, comfortable shoes.  There are those dressed up for the Dance, and those dressed down for the Dance, and those dressed somewhere in between.  Women dance with women, children, whomever, and it is more about having fun than any dances I've ever attended.  Relaxed, and just plain fun.

Arthur tries to dance the Twist with me, but his knees won't twist.  No more twisty dancing for him.
 Early into the evening, the YMCA song comes on and I just have to dance to that one to do the ol' Y M C A movements with my arms.   Arthur dances all the couple slow dances with me, and I get him into the action when the Hokee Pokee dance song plays. Left arm in, left arm out, left arm in and shake it all about, do the Hokee Pokee and turn yourself around, that's what it's all about!  

Overall it is a quite lovely evening.  I learn later that this is the first time the Ward has had a Dance in a long time.  Well the turnout was great for a snow night and the participation was great.  I give my compliments to the young lady who chose the music, on her dance training and on encouraging the dancing participation.   I hope they will have many more Dances!

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