Monday, February 22, 2010

Youth Dances: Then and Now

(photo from

Allen and I were asked to help chaperone a youth dance for our church last Saturday.

Can you say: awesome?

First off, I will admit that it has been nearly 2 decades since I have attended one of these functions as a youth. Since that time, the dances have seen their share of changes. These are my observations...

THEN: Popular radio DJs were hired to play the latest dance music and a small fee of $2-$3 was charged to cover the bill.

NOW: A local church member was hired to play the latest 'jump' music (more on that later) and admission is always free.

THEN: Chairs lined the walls of the gym and girls sat in groups, waiting (hoping) to be asked to dance to every song - slow OR fast. Occasionally there would be a group of brave girls who would dance together during the fast songs or a crazy girl (me) who would tear up the dance floor all alone if 'Dancing With Myself' was played.

NOW: No chairs. The teenagers are all either dancing or standing around in groups on the dance floor. If dancing to fast music, for the most part boys are dancing with boys and girls are dancing with girls. If dancing to slow music, boys are dancing with girls - but sometimes girls are goofily dancing with girls, too. When approached and asked whattheheck? I was told, "Boys are stupid." (Translation: WE LOVE BOYS!! But they didn't ask us to dance so we're doing this to get some attention. Kind of like that crazy girl who danced by herself when I was a kid.)

THEN: Everyone used the same dance moves for fast songs: either Rowing The Boat or the even more popular Step, Touch, Head-Bob. Occasionally we were graced with The Sprinkler or a breakdancing dance-off.

NOW: There is one dance. It is called jumping. If you are a more advanced dancer, it will include a bit of arm-flailing or fist-pumping. At one point, however, a wide circle was formed and there was something similar to the dance-offs from back in my day.

I would like to add that I loved being at a dance where my teenage kids were. It was such a blast to observe them from the sidelines and just fall in love with them all over again. They have some great friends and they all know how to have fun.

I would say that my proudest moment of the night was when Thriller was played and Coolister led the group in the Thriller Dance that he and his friends concocted and practiced until they had it down. My friend ~j. was there chaperoning as well and I think I told her no less than 10 times how much I loved watching my oldest boy do that Thriller dance. (Thanks for letting me gush, ~j.)

Another happy moment was when I finally found ElemenoB (it seems as if I was searching all night!) and wowed her group of friends with my amazing dance moves. She had asked me earlier that night to 'please not come dance near me' but because I am fluent in teenager language I knew this meant 'please come and dance near me so my friends can see what awesome moves you've got' and I did not want to disappoint.

My conclusion? I am totally available to chaperone these dances whenever needed.

Or even if not needed.

Until then, I'll be practicing the Jump-Dance and teaching my kids The Sprinkler. You know, bridging the gap and all of that.

Want to read more about it? Go see what ~j. had to say.


cari said...

Fun! I've always wanted to chaperone but never been asked.:( It would be fun to see my kids in action.

Mrs. Black said...

Love it! It was fun seeing you guys!

Shannon said...

Sounds like you almost had more fun than the kids - that IS awesome!!

Rachel said...

DANG!!! I knew I should have gone!! Dang dang triple dang! It was Mr. T's first dance. Mr. B thinks he's a pro now since he's been going for quite awhile. I'd wanted to go and make fools, I mean dance with my boys but felt like crud so took a nap instead. How lame. If I'd known you would be there, I'd have come for sure!!


sue-donym said...

I knew if I went, the Princess would have backed out. I'm glad I had my friends their to keep an eye on things. I really NEED to see that jump "dancing" though. Awesome.

PattiH05k said...

Oh, Gerb, that brought back memories! :-)

Richard & Natalie said...

Way to show them your moves!

I need to learn to let loose in public, so I can take my kitchen dancing public when my own kids start to attend these dances. If they think its embarrassing now, they will be totally humiliated in years to come. And isn't that a parents job anyway? :)
I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

Anaise said...

I never went to those dances--I was so unsure of myself! But you would have been there, and perhaps you'd have helped me be less self-conscious?

Probably not--it was a severe case of self-consciousness that I still suffer from today.

I love your daughter for singing and dancing with you in public.

I love you for singing and dancing with your daughter in public.

When my daughers are teens will you come chaperone their dances?

Amy said...

I'm so glad that you went into detail on the current dance situation. I know it sounds crazy, but I have been wondering about that lately! Can you youtube yourself bustin' a move??? I would pay money to see you in your awesomeness!

Gerb said...

Cari- You would have been SO welcome! Next time there's a dance at our stake and they are looking for chaperones, I'll let you know.

Shan- It was great to see you guys and meet our precious new niece, too. Thanks for making time to come by!

Shannon- It was a good time for all. I hope they let me come back next time!

Rachel- If I knew that I would have made it a point to look for your boys. But honestly, it was a great group of kids. No problems.

Sue- Maybe Princess could show you how it's done?

Patti- Church dances were our LIFE way back when, weren't they? Most of them bring me fond memories, too. Thanks for commenting! Good to see you here.

Natalie- Once I got beyond worrying what I looked like and went for the 'I dance like a dork and love it' mantra, things got much easier for me.

Anaise- You would have been warmly welcomed into our group at dances. And yes, I would LOVE to go to your daughter's dances! Transportation may be an issue, though. I bet you'd love it if you went, too.

Amy- I can't say I didn't think about doing that. You know, a little Sprinkler Dance for those who can't remember it, maybe some boat rowing and soup stirring and roof raising? And of course, the jump dance. In all of its forms.

We shall see.