Dance Dance Party Party

You guys, I have found my new favorite form of exercise.

Or rather, I have found the perfect circumstances for engaging in one of my old favorite forms of exercise.

Last night, Tari, OTM and I went to Dance Dance Party Party, which is the most brilliant “Why the fuck didn’t I think of that?” idea I’ve encountered in a long time. It’s like a dance class without the class, or a dance club without the club. Basically, a bunch of women get together in a dance studio, somebody brings an iPod stocked with an hour and a half of fast songs (and a bit of cool-down music), they turn the lights low, and we all flail around like happy jackasses until the playlist ends. For five bucks.

It is pretty much the exact opposite of why people hate the gym. The Chicago website says there are only three rules: “No boys. No booze. No judgment.” And they make a seriously big deal of the “no judgment” part, making it clear that if you even look like you’re judging someone else, you’ll be out on your ass. Nice! The “no boys” and “no booze” rules mean you don’t have to deal with any of the unpleasantness of going dancing at a club — and from our very scientific poll of Al and OTM’s husband, we’ve scientifically determined that straight guys think this is a ridiculous idea anyway, so fuck ‘em. (The funny part is, I think Al would actually have a blast. He not-so-secretly loves dance music, and he has even been known to suggest going out dancing, as opposed to having to be dragged. But then, the conspicuous lack of a “no booze” rule at the places where we’ve gone dancing contributed substantially to his willingness.) In any case, the “no boys” rule means there’s no chance of unexpectedly getting a stranger’s dick smashed into your back, so I’m completely on board with that. 

There’s also a fourth rule they don’t mention on the website: No talking. Naturally, when I first heard this, I panicked. WHY DON’T YOU JUST ASK ME NOT TO BREATHE FOR 90 MINUTES? But once we got started, I realized how brilliant that rule is. If I’d been allowed to talk, I would have spent the first ten minutes giggling nervously with Tari and OTM about how weird and awkward it was, babbling about how I’d worn the wrong shoes and the wrong bra, etc., and never getting out of my head and into the groove. As it was, there was nothing to do but dance, so I just spent the first five minutes feeling weird and awkward, then got over it and cut loose. Which was apparently exactly what everybody else did, too.

The other plus to the no-talking rule is that it allows for introspection about your own response to the no-judgment rule. Even though I have a pretty good relationship with my own body, and there were women of all sizes there, I found myself occasionally looking at some thin, buff girl who danced better and/or more boldly than I did, and automatically thinking, “Show-off!” But then, that thought would immediately be followed by, “Hello, that was a judgment of another woman, based largely on her body and your own insecurity, you hypocritical bitch. Why do you assume she’s showing off and not that she’s just getting down and having fun like you? Or like you would be doing if you weren’t judging other women and having this conversation with yourself. DANCE!” 

And then I would just dance. And it was a fucking blast. It was also one of the best workouts I’ve had in a while, and a perfect example of everything I preach about exercise: To wit, if it’s fun, you’ll want to keep doing it, and if you go at your own pace and honor what your body’s telling you, you will have more fun. The DJ of the week (more on that in a mo) started off with a few songs I really loved, so I went apeshit, only to realize I was panting and feeling a twinge of a headache — which was a bad sign, because I’ve been known to trigger exercise-induced migraines by attempting to do too much cardio, too fast. But for once, I recognized that I was overexerting myself and slowed down a bit, instead of calling myself a wimp, trying to keep up that pace, and leaving to barf my guts up after 20 minutes. All of the songs were fast, but it was easy enough to take it down a notch until I felt better, which I soon did. The group leaders also made sure to point out that we should take a break if we felt like it. I was kind of surprised I didn’t feel like it, actually — I don’t think I’ve ever danced for an hour and a half straight without at least leaving the floor to get another beer — but I just varied my pace as necessary and never needed or wanted to stop moving.

Okay, nuts and bolts stuff for those who might be interested.

Location: There are chapters in lots of American cities, and a couple in Canada and New Zealand. If there’s not a chapter in your city and you want to start one, you can email founders Glennis and Marcy at dancedancepartyparty[at]gmail[dot]com. (As far as I can tell, all you need is a cheap space, an iPod, half-decent speakers, and a willingness to show up every week and abide by the rules.)

Music: Could be anything. After you’ve gone once, you’re invited to “DJ” for a future DDPP — which means putting together a playlist of about 20 fast songs and one slow one. (Ideally, you put this on your own iPod and bring it. If you don’t have one, you can burn a CD and bring it to your leaders, who will put it on one of their iPods for a future date.) Last night was a lot of seventies/eighties stuff and hip-hop, which was perfect for me, but it varies according to different DJs’ tastes. 

Cost: As I said above, five bucks, which is a hell of a lot cheaper than an actual dance class.

What to wear: Workout clothes, gym shoes, and a sports bra. I wore a tank top and a vaguely athletic skort, which were fine, but my shoes and bra were major fails. I rejected the idea of gym shoes, because I usually find dancing in rubber-soled shoes to be a pain in the ass — I like to get a little slidey in the feets, and you can’t do that with good traction. But that’s when I’m dancing for 15 minutes, then sitting on a barstool for 15 minutes, then dancing for 15 minutes. The flats I chose really did not cut it for 90 straight minutes of dancing. I noticed a lot of the regulars were doing moves that looked a little more aerobics-like than dance-like (e.g., lifting their feet/knees a lot), which is probably because those are easier in gym shoes — so there’s a bit of a trade-off, but my feet and knees really would have appreciated the extra support. As for the bra, I went with a good, supportive everyday bra, but once I started sweating and bouncing around, it felt like nothing. Again, it’s an actual workout, not half-assed club dancing, so a sports bra is in order.

Pain factor: none, as long as you listen to your body. You’re not required to do anything you don’t want to, and you’re very much encouraged to do whatever feels good.

Next day pain factor: slight for me, probably because of the shitty shoes. I can feel it a little in my knees and my hips today.

Fun factor: Off the charts, if you like to dance.

Intensity: Totally depends on what you want to/can do, but due to the fun factor, I felt like I got a way better workout than I do riding an exercise bike or swimming laps.

Fat friendliness: High. Granted, the three of us dramatically increased the percentage of fat chicks in the room, but the regulars came in many different sizes, and the strictly enforced no-judgment rule makes it about as fat-friendly as you can get.

106 thoughts on “Dance Dance Party Party

  1. MAYBE SO.

    *dies of things to do*

    Really, though, I think it would be intensely fun. I had, at one point, considered throwing a party along these lines. I have a large amp for music and a strobe light, after all. *laugh* I can’t access the main site right now but I was looking at the Atlanta chapter and they don’t seem to have had an event since March. I wonder if Orlando could support an event every other month or so….

  2. Yeah, it was rockingly awesome.

    The no talking thing freaked me out, too. I totally understand why they have that rule, and it worked out (turned it more meditative than I expected), but I do think it cuts some of the camaraderie I like when I’m dancing with other people….but then, there’s a time and a place, and maybe that will shift for me when I get a better sense for what’s okay and what’s not with regard to interacting with other dancers there.

    I *so* can’t wait till next week!

  3. Yeah, TR, I clicked through some of the other sites and noticed that a few of the chapters are on hiatus, so I’m really glad the Chicago one is active. I suppose if you live in one of those cities and e-mail to say you’re dying to go, they might resurrect it…

  4. I would SO do this. There are none near me that I can find and I totally don’t have the capital to do this. True, after awhile the rent would hopefully pay for itself, but to start out. My gosh it would be successful though. I wish there was one or I wish I could start one. That would be awesome.

  5. brilliant! I’ve always kinda wanted to go to a club but been too intimidated by it because I can’t dance well and I don’t exactly want to get freaky with the boys either… It kinda reminds me of NIA classes when we’re allowed to “freestyle”. Except, of course, the whole class isn’t freestyle, and it is STILL a class… But a whole hour 1/2 of freestyle would be sweet.

  6. That looks really kind of cool, but the NYC chapter site has photos up, and they look sort of… intimidating. Like it’s a brightly lit room with a bunch of mostly thin women in workout wear.

    Is it really like that? Has anyone gone to the NYC version of this?

  7. Sounds like a great idea, unfortunately “no boys” would rule me out. I literally cannot hack being out in public without my husband nearby. He likes to dance in public more than I do anyway, he’d be super pissed that he couldn’t flail around with me.

  8. Like it’s a brightly lit room with a bunch of mostly thin women in workout wear.

    I can’t speak for NYC, but our room was definitely not brightly lit when it came down to dancing. There were a lot of thin women in workout wear, but also bigger women in workout wear, and once we got going, people really weren’t looking at each other much. Like Tari said above, it gets really meditative, and everyone pretty much does their own thing.

  9. That looks like so much fun! I used to love going dancing with a friend of mine who lives in a different city, so we couldn’t go that often. But it was also a study in sociology. She used to teach jazzercise, so her dancing was eyecatching. Some guy would start dancing with her and his wingman would start dancing with me. Within 5 minutes, the guy would realize that he couldn’t keep up with her dancing and give up and I’d be stuck with the wingman all night!

  10. That sounds like the raves I’ve been to, except for the “No boys” part! There’s no talking ’cause it’s too loud to hear. Everyone’s flailing around with their glow things, so why worry about what you look like? It’s one of the most awesome events I’ve been to. I don’t even mind the boys, since it’s sometimes nice to have pretty scenery.

  11. TR, I would TOTALLY GO to an Orlando chapter DDPP! I love dancing, but am not a fan of random guys coming up behind me and grinding into me. Plus, I just moved here (just started working for The Mouse :-) ), so it would be nice to meet some new people!

    Not trying to put too much on your plate, I’m just sayin’… ;-)

  12. Oooooh, and there’s a chapter in New Zealand, I must see if I can rope my friends into trying it out, yaaay!

    And FYI – there are gym shoes that are specially made with pivot points on the ball and the heel of the sole; to make movement more fluid without compromising on support. I’ve got a pair that I wear in Body Jam and Body Combat.

  13. Oh, I so wish I could do this! I loooove dancing, and I don’t drink or go to clubs, so I hardly ever get to dance like that. Maybe I’ll try to start one in my town someday…

  14. this sounds incredible. I love dance parties! If I had the least bit of organizational skill I’d try to start an IU chapter. Maybe one of my classmates would be interested. I could put together playlists if someone else were responsible for keeping track of dates and booking spaces and such…

    Are there any Bloomington, IN shapelings?

  15. This needs to be organised in the Netherlands, stat. I love dancing and dislike clubbing for the obvious reasons mentioned and something like this would be so bloody amazing.

    In fact, this is what I sometimes just do at home by myself anyway. I imagine it’s a lot more fun with other people, more room and a better sound system. ;)

    I wonder how I would go about organising this, considering I don’t live in a big city. But I might poke around my Dutch friends circle to see if anyone’s interested in started a Dutch chapter. Or maybe something like that is already going. This idea seems too awesome to not do anything with it.

  16. Add me to the list of people who wishes there were one in my city…

    By the way, my husband thinks it’s an interesting idea and he would do it if he were allowed, I think. But then, he’s a dancer anyway (we met through him teaching renaissance dance, and he’s taught me some ballroom, too).

  17. Argh, too bad the Los Angeles version seems to be on hiatus a lot in recent months. This looks like a serious hoot, and I could probably get some other neighborhood moms to come along and carpool, even… thanks though, it was fun just reading your description!

  18. I’m a little sore today, but that is because I failed to honor my knee-related limitations and proceeded to JUMP UP AND DOWN because I just can’t-can’t-can’t-can’t stop the beat. But seriously, this is the hands down most fun I’ve hand with land-based exercise in my life.

    Miriam, I looked at those pictures of the DDPPNY… class? session? and got the same impression. Maybe the brightened the lights for the picture-taking? But yeah, our class was definitely dim, and definitely attended by a range of body types and ages. I also took my glasses off, because they make my face all sweaty anyway, and that reduced everybody around me to a pleasingly distant blur. And of course, if I can’t see them, they can’t see me, either.

    I was kind of taken aback by the no talking rule, too, but I definitely agree that it was the way to go. (Now, if they had a no singing rule, I’d be in deep shit.) The first song was a little awkward but the second song was Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson and as soon as I heard, “5-4-3-2″ I basically just lost my shit. And knowing that I didn’t have to talk to Kate or Tari during the class freed me to really act like a zany person because I knew I wouldn’t have to actually make eye contact with anybody until it was over.

    And I kind of liked that some of the dancers were doing very athletic crazy things, because it gave me ideas and it reinforced the fact that we were all there to bust those moves that we are too embarrassed to do in public and, in my case anyway, don’t have room to do in our homes. I got to try new things, like actually doing (“doing”) some of Janet’s arm and shoulder moves from the Rhythm Nation video. I also notice that I have a very interpretive dance style… Ha!

    There was one older woman there, too, and another friend of mine is a regular and she is in her late 40s, so it’s not just for youngins, which I totally love, too.

    There was one more thing I wanted to say… Oh, I sweated my fucking ass off. Damn.

  19. This sounds so fun!!! The last update on the Boston page was in March, so I’ll try to get in touch with the facilitator and see what’s up. Maybe I can help restart it if need be.

  20. @TR and Christi – I’m in Orlando too! And I love to dance, and I hate being out in bars and clubs (except for karaoke). Please, please let’s do this!

  21. Kate, you need to get a pair of ballroom shoes. I find the “standard” pumps a lot more comfortable than the strappy “latin” sandals, but they all are designed for dancing in for hours on end and will give your feet better support than some random pair of flats not engineered for dancing.

    Or there are sneakers made for swing dancing. I’ve never worn them, because for ballroom you really need a heel, but they look like they’d be pretty comfortable for club type dancing, and they’re made to let you slide and spin.

  22. but the second song was Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson and as soon as I heard, “5-4-3-2″ I basically just lost my shit

    Oh shit. I would be right there with you. People of the world unite!

  23. ZOMG THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING IDEA EVER! I wish there was a chapter near me; the closest is a five hour drive. BOO. I love dancing, but I don’t like having to deal with all the extraneous details of clubbing or dealing with friends who would rather sit and drink than get out on the dance floor.

  24. I would really, really, really love to start something like this up on my college campus.

    I have no idea how to do it, and even less free time on my hands, but it would be so perfect and so much fun.

  25. Yet another reason why I need to move to Seattle. The local chapter is currently defunct, but Seattle seems to be going strong, and if I lived there I would go EVERY TIME.

  26. Oooh, oooh, a friend and I were just talking about how someone should have regular dance parties with no judgment. Who knew? Emailing her the link…

    I would have a really hard time not singing along, though. Does that count as a breach of the no-talking rule?

  27. So, um, if one wanted a quick crash course on *how to dance* (don’t laugh), is there a DVD one could Netflick? Or could one just look surreptitiously at other party people and try to copy what looks cool?

    Not that there’s likely even a DDPP in my area, but by gourd I might start one…

  28. That sounds awesome! I would so totally do this, and need to find a northern California equivalent… Why is there only one location west of the Rockies? And in LA of all places. sigh.

  29. Or there are sneakers made for swing dancing.

    I have these, but they were frickin’ expensive and two easy substitutes are bowling shoes (sueded bottoms ftw!) and a certain kind of Adidas shoes that may or may not still be available. Most of the dancers I know either wear Aris Allens (the male ones, obvy; female swing dancers aren’t supposed to wear flats) or Converse All-Stars.

    The Adidas shoes are something like this, btw.

  30. Ahhh! I want to try it! I’m moving to LA next week, but it looks like LA is on hiatus right now (but they said something about the hiatus only being through August, so maybe I should keep myself posted). That sounds like SO MUCH FUN.

  31. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!! this is the most genius thing ever. I can’t fucking believe i didn’t think of this myself. i HAVE to go to this in new york. this is SO what i’ve been looking for!

    Any shapelings in the NY area wanna make a date to go with me?

  32. What if you just wore little sockette slides, you know, those ones you wear with shoes when you don’t want your socks to show, or thin socks, or go barefoot?

  33. Miriam Heddy, I’m in New York, and I would LOVE to go and would totally join you! I have always thought that I get the best workouts dancing, but that all the drinks that get me onto the floor sort of cancel out any benefit of exercise. I’m not a fabulous dancer but I love to do it so I am so totally gonna give this a whirl.

  34. Miriam Heddy and Neely O’Hara, I am in NYC and i wanna go too!!!

    Also i have emailed some of my friends IRL and already have one coming with me… yay

  35. Perhaps I’m naive, but this seems like something you could organize with a group of friends, an iPod and a basement.

    A group of us exercise in a warehouse at work with some DVD’s we’ve rigged with one person’s player, another person’s stereo………I can so see us trying this…..I, like GH would have to let my husband come along…..he loves to dance more than me and unfortunately doesn’t have the rhythm God gave lettuce….

  36. Kate, your account reminds me of my first encounter with a Nia class—-I attended a “dance jam”at a friend’s recommendation. There were women of all shapes, sizes, ages, fitness levels, and from the moment the instructor put on the music—Cristina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” I recall–the mad booty shaking began. I didn’t know the “no judgement” ropes yet and was still hanging back, feeling a bit self-conscious, but moved to tears at the sight of a roomful of (mostly) women completely caught up in the joy of movement in a safe space. In fact, my ongoing experience with Nia (as I recovered from a back injury) profoundly changed my experience of my own body, and led me almost directly to the FA movement. It was the first form of exercise that has ever me fully realize what I have suspected my whole life—that being at war with my body is entirely unhealthy, no matter what the gym and diet commercials say.

    It’s not exactly the same; there’s some choreography with Nia, but the movement parameters are very flexible. I’ve never even slightly considered myself a dancer—in fact, I’m uncoordinated enough that 90% of the exercise I’ve opted to do before the last 2 years has been strategically solo, sans witnesses to my klutzyness—but have grown accustomed to this type of movement and it’s very freeing. They say an “advanced” class would look like “organized chaos”, with everyone following some similar foot patterns, but attuned to their own bodies’ way.

    For people who are looking for something similar to Dance Dance Party Party but finding it thus far unavailable in their areas, it might be worth checking out the Nia website to find a class near you.

  37. *Squees with glee* There is a chapter in Cleveland! They’re on hiatus for the summer, but said they’d be back around Labor Day, so this weekend! Yay!

    I, like others, love going out clubbing. I haven’t gone because of time and money, and the weight I’ve put on from PPD has left me feeling less than graceful. But this, this sounds good.

    *squees some more*

  38. That sounds so fun, I adore music.. and I think I would like dancing but I have always been sooo self conscious about how I look that I have never really done it. It would be fun to try at least!

  39. So you’re telling me it’s “those times you dance around like a maniac in your living room when nobody is around to see you”, but with a whole bunch of other women who also love to dance around like maniacs? Does the no-talking rule also forbid singing shoutily along to the music if you know it, because if not, sign me up! (I cannot stop myself from singing shoutily along to music I enjoy while dancing. It is impossible.)

  40. I would so totally do this, and need to find a northern California equivalent… Why is there only one location west of the Rockies? And in LA of all places. sigh.

    Well, there’s a Seattle one, too. However, this does not help those of us in northern California or in Oregon. :-/ I need to plan a visit to friends in Seattle that “coincidentally” coincides with one of the dates….:-P

  41. JupiterPluvius, I will be watching the Boston DDPP for updates, because this sounds awesome and that’s where I’ll be for school. I hope you & the old host manage to work out some sort of resurrection; I can think of a friend or two who would love this too…

  42. Just a note: Tari means ‘dance’ in Indonesian

    I think this is great because cardio is pointless if you’re not having fun and you can move in a way that FEELS GOOD which is what I think movement is meant to be about. I also suspect it’s why runners love running': it feels good to them. For many though, running does not feel good and then they hate themselves for not liking it. Dancing is definitely the way to go

  43. Just to say I love this idea and hope that there’s something similar in the UK.

    However in their FAQs they mention releasing their inner spaz which is rather offensive and ablist.

  44. I think that this is a great thing. Just wish there was one in Bali now…… and that the age range was varied enough to include grandmothers. We need to shake those bodies too!

  45. Just a note: Tari means ‘dance’ in Indonesian

    Sweet! I’ll add that to the collection of fabulous things my name means in various languages. Thanks!!

  46. Perhaps I’m naive, but this seems like something you could organize with a group of friends, an iPod and a basement.

    Absolutely true, but as an urban rat, there ain’t a basement to be found among me and my friends. :)

    Note for any Philly dwellers: I’ve emailed the Philly DDPP addy to find out if the group’s still active, and I’ll share whatever info I find out!

  47. I also suspect it’s why runners love running’: it feels good to them. For many though, running does not feel good and then they hate themselves for not liking it.

    Absolutely. I know lots of runners who do it because they love how it feels. But I really, really do not love how it feels. (See above in re boobs and knees.) What pisses me off is when people insist that everyone would love running if they just did it enough to get the “runner’s high.” It’s like, you know, I’ve heard crack gives a pretty good high, too, but personally, I am not interested. And I don’t expect everyone else in the world to love yoga or water aerobics or dancing just because I do. Go figure.

  48. I also suspect it’s why runners love running’: it feels good to them. For many though, running does not feel good and then they hate themselves for not liking it.

    This calls to mind the way some folks eat salad because they love it. Sometimes I really feel like having a salad, but mostly I don’t. I can get my veg other ways.

    If I don’t like running, I can get my exercise other ways. The trouble with runners is that they’re really visible. You don’t see folks swimming down the street every morning (though if I could swim to work, I would totally do it!).

  49. Damn! Not one chapter ANYWHERE in the San Fran Bay area??? That is at least fifty-seven flavors of stone-cold wrong!

    Actually, this sounds a lot like what I was doing last night. Mr. Twistie (bless him) took me to see Melissa Etheridge in Oakland, even though he’s not exactly wild about her music. He knows she’s my favorite singer ever and the venue was an historic landmark so my extreme sensitivity to smoke wasn’t going to be an issue.

    Anyway, the place was filled to the brim with women of all sizes, ages, colors, and yes, even orientations, boogieing down and shouting along every now and again. The seats did keep us from the full dance potential, but there was ass-wiggling and arm waving everywhere. My hips haven’t swayed that much in years. This morning I feel energized and completely psyched to face the world.

    IOW, we Northern California types definitely need to start up a chapter or at least something similar.

    If shouting along to the lyrics isn’t approved by the PTB, then we need an offshoot. I’m down with no talking during the session, but I have to exercize my diaphragm, too. And my lungs need a workout. So there.

  50. Okay, I just had to note that after reading this yesterday (and checking out the website–no chapters in Savannah, poo!), I DREAMED (dreamt?) about this last night.

    Except it was disasterous. It was held in my UU church’s rec hall, and for some reason there were BOYZ there. And the boyz and the girls there apparently all knew each other and were in a little clique, and completely disobeyed the no talking rule, and were chatting and giggling. I remember the music was awesome and totally danceable, and I tried half-heartedly to dance, but was too self-concious. Also, my boyfriend followed me there, even though I kept telling him to leave because NO BOYZ ALLOWED, and no matter how many times I told him not to talk, he kept trying to start up a conversation with the dance leader. I finally told him if he talked again I would snap his neck in half. He got mad and stormed out.

    This, of course, has no relation to the actual Dance Dance Party Party, which I would totally love to try if I had access to one.

    Thanks for keeping up with all forms of alternative exercise, Kate. It’s wonderful to be reminded that the joy of movement can be had even without kickboxing or running on a treadmill for an hour (no offense to those who do, of course).

  51. What an awesome idea i totally love it. No judgment and fun. I love to dance and this would be perfect for me. It is something that I could see myself doing a few times a week. I really hope that this takes off.

  52. I’ve emailed them about starting this up in St. Louis, if anyone’s interested. Let me know if you are, or if you have any ideas about space!
    philosopherkrista – at – yahoo – dot – com

  53. *completely dies of love*

    Seriously seriously seriously Kate THANK YOU for posting this… no seriously I felt this overwhelming amount of gratitude why you ask?

    Because whenever people post about cool fun stuff to do for exercise I always find it is never in my city…. ever so I checked out the chicago site thinking, watch there will be one 3 hours away of course

    Much to my surprise they have one in Cleveland! Excitement! I’m going to go as soon as they start posting new dates and stuff again. It’s fabulous for me since I omg love to dance

    So thank you again Kate from the bottom of my heart!

  54. i second erin on the thanks kate for posting this. i don’t like to dance. and the entire thought of doing the above makes my skin want to turn inside out. BUT. i appreciate how open you are about your experiences and exactly what you’re feeling as you go through them. thoughts always running through my head begin with…NO WAY, ME TOO!.. you’re an excellent writer with a great voice, so thanks!

  55. philosopherkrista, I just emailed you with an idea for a space. (I don’t live in St. Louis anymore, but I visit often enough that maybe I’ll shake it with y’all sometime.)

  56. Hollah! DJ Buddmobile from DDPP Prov here. My marketing director at the theatre just sent your link. One strategy for starting your own might be to find a small theatre or other community organization that embraces the philosophy of DDPP and thereby decrease or eliminate rent expenses.

    Most of the regulars in our chapter are over 30 and a trio of red hat ladies have been joining us for about a month. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number.

  57. Wow, that sounds awesome. I really love to dance, but have never gone out dancing, mainly because I don’t like the whole scene and because I’ve always been so self-conscious about my size. Philadelphia is probably the closest location, so if I end of moving closer to that area, I’ll definitely try and get some friends to check it out with me. I still don’t think I’d have the courage to go alone though. :P

  58. AND, if you’re an introvert, this is something you can totally do at home, any time you want.

    In theory, yes, but as always, it depends on your situation. I live in an old apartment building with hardwood floors, so the reason I don’t do this at home every damned day is that my downstairs neighbors would hate me for thundering around. It’s awesome to have a space where I can be as loud as I like.

  59. This sounds freaking awesome! Though, I usually require at least 4 shots before I can dance. So the sober dancing thing would be strange.

  60. Though, I usually require at least 4 shots before I can dance.

    That’s my concern, too — I literally am not sure I *know how* to dance sober. What, do I just move my limbs around and stuff?

  61. This actually sounds not unlike something I went to a couple of times in LA (Santa Monica, actually) called Dance Home, that’s been going on for at least 15 years or so. I believe it’s still there and that they have branches in Boulder and other cities. The Santa Monica DH was unisex in theory, but I don’t remember ever seeing a man there, and if there ever was a guy there he very much stuck to one woman’s side (it was very much crunchy-hippie-granola kind of rock music and clientele). And while there was not a formal “no talking” rule in force, if you were blathering too much someone would definitely give you the fish eye, because people were there for, yes, the “meditative experience.” I loved it and always wished I could go more often, but Santa Monica was usually way out of my way. I’d check out DDPP if they ever came to PDX, absolutely.

  62. Though, I usually require at least 4 shots before I can dance.

    FWIW, I had the same concern, but it really does start to feel reasonably comfortable about 5 minutes in. (Those first five minutes are kind of rough, though, I admit. I had to turn my back on everyone else and close my eyes.) And it turns out you ultimately get a lot of the same euphoria as with drunk dancing, and none of the hangover! WHO KNEW?

  63. Oh, my lord, why does this not exist in Arizona? Am I going to have to start one? I’m going to have to start one, aren’t I?

  64. First I want to thank you for hipping me to something FUN that’s happening in my OWN CITY that I didn’t even know about.

    Awesome. Have to make sure all joints (from previous modern dance injuries, ironically) are in proper working order, but I’m already preparing drafts of the DJ list.

    So thank you very, very much.

  65. This sounds like so much fun. I always want to go dancing but unfortunately, my friends are of the ‘let’s stand here and look cool with our drinks’ types. Boring.

    My standard workout nowadays consists of step aerobics with some ridiculous skanking (dancing to ska music) thrown in for kicks. Ska music is probably one of the best types of music to dance to, but it gets no love. :(

  66. It sounds like fun, and I happen to also be in Chicago! I like the no judgement rule, cause honestly, I’m one of those people who can only dance the running man, and that pizza cutter move where you grab one leg and just move it back and forth. LoL

  67. This sounds absolutely great. It’s exactly what I look for. I sometimes dance in my own living room, when I really can’t stop myself ;) But this would be so much more fun!

    We really should introduce this in Europe, too!

  68. Hm, I just remember I actually did this once while I was in a clinic. A friend of mine and me went down to the sporthall belonging to the clinic, locked the door to keep the boys out (we were teenagers than, so hormones raging everywhere ;)), put the music on and danced danced danced! It was totally great!

  69. This does sound great! I often dance in my room, but it can be far more fun with others. And as a fan of somewhat obscure dance music, I love the idea of being able to share my own tunes with others for at least a session. :P

    I love both “no judgement” and “no boys.” Oh, and the no talking thing is great too. All that tends to prevent me from fully busting a move.

    But yeah, not in my city either. I’d be up for an Orlando chapter, although even that’s fairly far from me and I wouldn’t be able to go very often at all.

  70. That’s amazing!!! And how would I have found it out without Shapely Prose?! Thanks for the awesome review, Kate.
    Coincidentally or not, Toronto’s DDPP is coming back in September. It will cost $8, not $5 – because everything is more expensive in Canada… I’ll definitely give it a try :)

  71. So, um, if one wanted a quick crash course on *how to dance* (don’t laugh), is there a DVD one could Netflick?
    Might I recommend Napoleon Dynamite?

    I’ve been sitting here trying to think of possible locations. Like I have soooo much free time!

  72. Dammit! I just find out about this, and see that it’s featured in my city. Unfortunately. it’s on hiatus due to low turnout:( I wish I’d known about it…

  73. OK, I am moving to the Bay Area at the end of the month, and I just emailed DDPP about starting a chapter there. I couldn’t believe there was no San Francisco chapter yet!

    So we’ll see what happens. Wish me luck!

  74. I didn’t even get through reading all of the comments before I had started to discuss the options of starting one here in Melbourne, Australia. Even means I could play my favorite music.

  75. Holy fucking amazingness! So I subscribe to google alerts for DDPP as a good organizer should, but I really never read them as most point to defunct chapters or are a cut and paste of a brief write-up someone did way back when.

    But this? This has got me excited again. REALLY excited. I am one of the freak shows mentioned here who darts around doing ridiculous moves (although “athletic” isn’t a term I’d use, but I’m flattered). And you know, from time to time, I do wonder if people think it’s a show off or they don’t care. Your point nailed it home completely – we’re all free to do whatever we wouldn’t do in front of other people, sober. And it just so happens I feel most liberated on the dance floor when I’m just losing control in a room where nobody cares.

    I’m also so glad you mentioned the “no talking” rule. It wasn’t part of our original plan, but it became abundantly clear early on that if women talk to each other (which feels like the right thing to do in an awkward situation), it starts to feel like there are cliques in the room, which is what we’re trying to avoid in the first place. It divides us.

    And in terms of DDPP’s meditative qualities – I couldn’t agree more. There is something almost transcendent about letting your body express itself for such a long stretch with a room full of other women doing the same. I feel like at the end of every class, nobody’s a stranger anymore even though we haven’t spoken a word. It’s like we all share this fantastic secret connection that needs none of the trappings of a usual friendship.

    Ok – perhaps I’m assigning it a bit more meaning than it should have. But that’s another great thing about it – it’s as casual (i.e. just get a great workout) or as serious (i.e. having personal body/mind epiphanies while busting a move) as you want it to be.

    I’m incredibly gratified that you wrote this posting and that you have such a fantastic community of women who are on this same wavelength. Once in a while I wonder if I should continue hosting classes because I can get a little burnt out going to ever class, but reading a post like this makes it crystal clear that we need something like this in the world. I hope more women are inspired to start more chapters or just dance with their friends in their apartments or wherever the hell they want to. If anyone has questions or wants advice about starting one – totally email me: dancedancepartyparty.com

    And for those who live in cities with defunct chapters – send the organizers a little email and let them know how much you’d like to go! Sometimes these things die because a few rough weeks go by where hardly anyone shows and we just need to be reminded of how much people like it!

    So yes! Fantastic blog! And hope to see you at DDPP again soon! We start Sunday sessions again in October…

  76. DDPPC, so glad you posted! And so glad this got you excited about it all over again! I missed this Wed. night because I’m sick as a dog, but I’ll be back next week and can’t wait for Sunday sessions to start.

    Oh, and hey to DJ Buddmobile, whom I missed when she showed up. Really glad to see DDPP organizers are aware of this thread and can see how much interest there is.

  77. Just wanted to drop an update about Dance Dance Party Party Philadelphia. I got a note today from the organizer telling me that after a summer hiatus, they’re working to bring DDPPP back in October or November.

    I can’t wait!

  78. Hi! Great post, Kate.

    I really appreciate what you said about the show-off thing. I am an ex pro ballet dancer, and I have always wondered whether people think I’m showing off in DDPP when I flail around like a ballerina on drugs.

    Truth is, whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror in class, all I can see is an out-of-shape dancer who is hopelessly confined by ballet muscle memory and who needs to lose more than a few. But I go anyway because darn it, I have fun flailing around with no choreography or bitchy artistic director to make me feel like shit about myself.

    I hope someday to be able to stop judging myself and just have fun 100% of the time in class. It’s comforting to know that other people with totally different baggage than mine struggle with that as well.

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