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Born to hand-jive, baby

September 29th, 2011

Sometimes when the bass is bumping and the deejay is rocking, I just want to move my body. It’s like the lemurs in “Madagascar” say: “I like to move it, move it.”

Unfortunately, I feel that the art of dancing has been lost to our generation’s pop culture. It’s very difficult (though not impossible) to waltz to Gucci Mane. And doing a windmill in rhythm to Jay-Z is no easy feat either.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all kinds of music. When my homeboys are spitting fire on the mics, I don’t mind getting jiggy with it. But when I pay $25 for a ticket to a dance, I don’t plan on grabbing my date by the waist, moving our hips back and forth for three hours and pretending it’s dancing.

I like to think back to the good old days – the 1920s, when dancing was an expression of our very humanity; the days when flappers rocked the dance floor and jazz hands shaped the world.

Even our former generations did a good job preserving the Americana inherent in shaking our booties. The 1950s brought with it the songs “Hand Jive” and “Johnny B. Goode.” These rocking singles were considered just as rebellious as our current songs, and they didn’t even implicate sex and drugs.

But it seems that we have lost these days that history has dubbed, “the golden oldies.” That’s why I will take it upon myself (and anyone who cares to join) to bop to the beat at this weekend’s Homecoming dance the way we were meant to.

I have noticed that many students have attempted to replicate the earlier decades in various ways at JCU dances, but it just hasn’t extended to the actual dance floor yet. Just like the 1920s, students don’t hesitate to bring their flasks to dances (in solidarity with the prohibition-protestors of old); alas, no flappers. And there’s certainly no short supply of strict chaperones; alas, no Kenny Loggins to make us all cut loose.

So what, then, are my expectations for a real dance? I think our first goal should be to actually dance. If a song does not lend itself to free-flowing movement of your body, it’s time to improvise. Fortunately, even the most down and dirty hip-hop and R&B songs have a solid beat. Use that to find your soulful self and move that body.

All too often, I have heard my classmates claim that they don’t know how to dance. This just isn’t true. All dancing requires is moving your body and having fun. No one says you have to be on “America’s Best Dance Crew” to enjoy yourself.

Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable dancing, but I promise it will feel good. It’s tough to make yourself vulnerable when everyone else is grinding and you step outside the box to put some funk in your step. But, for Pete’s sake, it’s a dance, so have some fun.

Now maybe you’re ready to take it to the next level and impress your date.

Fellas: don’t be afraid to lead. Put one hand on your lovely lady’s waist, the other in her hand, and let your feet do the rest. She will love this energy and initiative. If you throw a few step-step-ball-changes in there and an occasional spin, who knows where your night might lead you?

And ladies: If your man is being lame and you don’t just want to move your booty back and forth all night, this is 2011 – you can take the lead too. If he doesn’t follow, use your woman-power. I’m not sure how it works, but all of you seem to use it pretty effectively.

If you don’t know what to do, you can just waddle like a penguin from “Happy Feet,” and your feet will definitely be happy.

But no matter what, as my mom always told me before my high school dances, please leave enough room for the Holy Spirit. This is a Jesuit university – no hanky panky on the dance floor.

I think that covers the basics, but feel free to get creative. After all, it’s JCU, just have a good time.

Oh, and Rachael Greuber, will you go to homecoming with me?