What’s Your Saturday Morning Dance Party?

I grew up on the 1980’s Bar Mitzvah circuit.  It is where I acquired all of my best dance moves.   A little limbo.  A little YMCA.  A little awkward slow dance to In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins or You’re the Inspiration by Chicago (I’m getting a little choked up just writing this).  But growing up on the circuit didn’t prepare me for dancing in adulthood and I settled into the norm like most of us -- that dancing is way “out of my comfort zone.”

So it shouldn’t surprise you that when my wife encouraged me to go to an early morning dance party that I resisted.  I am not interested in going to a club, in the morning, sober (I repeat, sober), and dancing.  I’m just not.  In Seattle, events have popped up including Dance Church and Daybreaker (spoiler alert:  I went to both) that are all about getting people to embrace movement and dance and fitness wrapped into one.  Just writing this actually feels a little vulnerable and yes, I’m probably going to get outed by my friends, but it’s self-inflicted I know.

But after many excuses (like the last one of, “My grandmother just passed away.”) I couldn’t resist the pressure and I caved.  And I have to say that it had a profound impact on me.  Dancing to DJ’d music with over 100 other sweaty, erratic and seemingly hypnotized human beings felt connected, liberating, and….fun.  I thanked my wife for continuing to pressure me.  “See, I knew you’d like it,” she said. 

Here is what I took away from a Saturday Morning Dance Party and the impact it had on me:

  1. I Can Dance by Myself.  It only took me 44 years but that felt awesome.  I didn’t need someone else to make it okay to dance, to make it acceptable.  I’m just fine in my own space.  You’re welcome to join me but it’s up to you.  I’m having a great time.
  2. People Really Don’t Give a Shit.  I didn’t know anyone at the dance party and no one really cared what I was doing.  People are so wrapped up in their own worlds that to think for a minute someone is paying attention or judging me is so misguided.   
  3. An Amazing Company Culture Could be Created if a Team Danced Together.  Now that may be a little much to ask but dancing is raw self-expression.  It’s vulnerability and we need more vulnerability inside of companies to break down the barriers that create entropy and distrust, and resentment.  Teams that dance together stay together.
  4. The Comfort Zone is the Enemy.  Comfort zones are created to protect you from your fears and they are insidious.  They will make your world small because they don’t want you to see the possibilities of what you are capable of.  What if you broke out?  Is a morning dance party part of the resistance movement to the evils of the Comfort Zone? 
  5. It’s Totally Fine to Sweat Your Face Off.  It might get back to #2 above, but we are all just balls of expendable energy that lay dormant for a good part of our lives.  When the energy dissipates and we sweat (and yes, those dance parties get really warm) it is life…exercised.  It is a signal of freedom and that is liberating (especially when you don’t have to wear slacks and a sweater and penny loafers like my mom made me wear for all of those Bar Mitzvah’s). 

There is no country club Bar Mitzvah party that ever prepared me for what I experienced at Dance Church (oh the irony) last week on Capitol Hill in Seattle.  But I’m glad I faced it.  I appreciate my wife for pushing me.  Every time I break out of my comfort zone I create a little life breakthrough.  This is a year of breakthroughs and a Saturday morning dance party captures the metaphor beautifully (even though they didn’t play Phil Collins or Chicago).