Friday, April 18, 2008

Snap yo' fingahz!

I helped Brett with a daddy-daughter dance last weekend at the elementary school I used to attend. Well, it wasn't an elementary school when I went there in 7th and 8th grades, but it is now. There were about 150 little girls in attendance, all dolled up, some probably wearing make-up and high-heels (in public) for the first time. Their daddies squired them proudly, if not somewhat abashedly, around the small, dingy gym which had been decorated with a Hollywood/Oscar theme.

The majority of the girls looked to be about 8 - 10 years old. And because "hanging out with daddy" is not sufficient entertainment for more than about 3 minutes for a 10-year-old girl, Brett played games with the group and even taught a few dances.

I helped wrangle the kids during the games to make sure the younger ones didn't get trampled and also helped demonstrate the such sophisticated dance moves as "Macarena" and "Chicken Dance." (Neither of which I can do very well, by the way.)

Kids this age are especially malleable. They enthusiastically try anything the DJ suggests. "Ok! This is a really great new dance step! Everyone stand on one foot, stick your tongue out, and then hop over and lick the wall! Great! You're doing it and you look AWESOME!" And with any crowd, (even those who might think twice about licking the wall), it's so very important for the DJ to look like he's having a good time. It adds to the energy and excitement of the party.

I try follow this rule of thumb, even though I'm only the behind-the-scenes helper of the super-cool DJ. I rarely like to get out on the floor and full-on dance (mostly because I look a lot like Elaine from Seinfeld when I do), but I'll move a little bit to the beat of the music or snap my fingers to keep me from looking like a bump on a log. I don't think anyone notices, and that's the point. It's much more conspicuous to be sitting behind the DJ table, stiff as a poker with my hands folded in my lap.

So, last weekend, between the YMCA and the Hokey-Pokey, the girls and their daddies were dancing (and by "dancing" I mean frantically jumping up and down in one spot) to a popular hip-hop song with a heavy bass line. I was standing at the booth, putting CDs away, just swaying a little bit back and forth and occasionally snapping my fingers.

At every school dance, there are kids who want the DJ to notice them. They dance very conspicuously as close to the DJ booth as they can get. Sometimes they are hoping for prizes. Sometimes they just want the coolest person in the room (the DJ) to notice them and maybe give 'em a shout out. This dance was no exception. There was a line of little girls dancing as close to the table as they could, every now and again sneaking a peak to see if Brett was noticing them.
They had been there all night and I had pretty much stopped paying attention to them. Until I noticed that they weren't dancing by frantically jumping up and down in one spot like all the other girls. They were just swaying a little bit back and forth and occasionally snapping their fingers.

I strained to see across the dark dance floor what exactly they were doing. Were they too tired to dance like the others? Were they not having a good time anymore? Did they not like the song?
Then I realized. This whole line of little girls were watching me. They were doing exactly what I was doing. When I snapped, they snapped. When I bobbed my head, all ten of their little heads bobbed, too. If I stepped to the left, they followed. (Some were quicker-steppers than others, though, and someone in the middle ended up getting trampled.) When I pumped my fist up in the air and shouted "Snap yo' fingahz!" in time with the music, well, they tried.

I was the coolest person in the room. I was the one these girls, who wanted so desperately to be noticed, wanted to be like. I had The Moves. All of them. And they were eating it up with a spoon.

I wonder if they went home that night and said, "I want to be the wife of a DJ when I grow up." Because that frumpy, thirty-something, jiggly-armed, no-rhythm lady out there, she was working it. Yeah baby, she was working it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In theory I' d like to write like this too - taking time and real effort to make a good article... but what can I say... I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.