Dance Party. Depending on who you ask, these two words will either make you feel like someone set off a glitter bomb in your soul, or strike a cold, clammy fear deep in the pit of your stomach. Some people have no qualms about getting jiggy on the dance floor at a wedding, in the kitchen while making dinner, or shimmy-ing it up in the car ride with the bass thumping. Others are a bit more reserved about busting out their moves, meaning they would rather have a root canal than be seen attempting the Cupid Shuffle. Rocking the dance floor doesn’t have to be hard or intimidating. Today I’m sharing 5 fail proof tips that will help you level up your dance party game. Whether you’re a novice or think it’s a travesty you’re not on tour with Beyonce, these are tips to swear by, and use at home, for a night out, or with your kids. Put on your favorite playlist and hop to it!
1. Bend your knees
This is the first thing I teach in my hip hop classes. BEND YOUR KNEES! Nothing looks more awkward than someone trying to be groovy with stilts for legs. You don’t even have to move a lot, just get a little bounce going. With your knees bent, all sorts of other options spring to life: your hips can suddenly sway more, your spine is more flexible, your whole body will instantly relax and respond to sending your weight into the floor. Interesting food for thought: in ballet, we’re always reaching upwards, the goal is to defy gravity, right? Ever stop to think how that might be reflective of Western religious identification? Heaven is up, God can be found in the clouds, along with the angels, but the Devil is down in hell below us? Contrast that with African and Oceanic dance traditions where dancers are always bending their knees and staying close to the Earth. These traditions call not upon a far off God in Heaven above, but on Mother Earth, connecting to her power and love right underneath us. Take a cue from those traditions and give in to gravity!
2. Dance With Somebody
If riding solo isn’t your thing, grab a friend to dance with! A girlfriend, your SO, your kid… dancing with a buddy makes everything more fun and you’re less likely to focus on any self-conciousness with a friendly face nearby. If you are dancing with your kids, take turns Following the Leader, or play a game of Freeze Dance and copy each other’s poses when you freeze. You may get some sweet inspiration for striking a pose the next time you hit a club dance floor.
3. Grab a Prop!
Props. I’m a fan. Similar to how dancing with a friend can take the focus away from any insecurities or fears, a good prop can add flair and fun, and make you feel pretty damn fierce. I was once at a wedding that had an awesome band, and I was so into it, I wasn’t leaving that dance floor for anything. Later, my friends told me they found it pretty amusing that I was the only person on the dance floor who had a drink in hand while they were dancing. Whatever. Champage + Dancing = My Jam. My point is that a prop can be anything from a glass of bubbles to a feather boa to a toothbrush/faux microphone. It’s a talisman against any awkwardness. Embrace it!
4 When In Doubt, Arms Up!
Once you’ve got #1 down, you may be wondering what the heck to do with your arms. Again, see #2 and #3, if you’re dancing with a prop or a person, this problem pretty much goes away. But when in doubt, arms up people! Arms by your sides when you’re dancing screams amateur. Unless you’re participating in an Irish jig, and/or are Michael Flatley. If that is the case, then please, carry on. Otherwise, get some energy in those arms! Raise the roof, snap your fingers, point to your friends, vogue it out, just keep those knuckles from dragging the floor!
5. Isolations Are Cool
If you’re still feeling uncomfy with #4 I totally get it. That’s why isolations are your friends! This is also one of my first lessons in my hip hop classes: isolations are when you’re only moving one part of your body at a time, and they make anyone look like they know what they’re doing. Just chose a body part, and move it! Shoulders, head, hips, foot, tap it with the music, and you’re golden. Zoolander would be proud…
I’m so dedicated to getting booties moving that I’m sharing a little home-made dance party video here too! I would lovelovelove it if you shared yours with me, especially since National Dance Week starts this Sunday! Find me on the social medias and let me see your moves; be sure to use the #nationaldanceweek to celebrate your participation in this awesome yearly celeberation. Happy Dancing!