Column: Defending daily dance parties in the absence of concerts
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve had a dance party in my home nearly every day since I started self-quarantining on March 13. I dance as a warm-up to my workouts, I dance while I’m cooking, I dance sometimes if I’m feeling too lazy to do a real workout.
I’m sure that if any of my neighbors looked in my window they’d whip out their phones, start recording me and put it on the internet. I’d become a viral sensation for being bad at dancing. My style mostly consists of ballet prancing I remember from being a kid forced to take dance classes and moshing but with no one to mosh against.
Speaking of moshing, wow I miss that. Concerts feed my soul, especially ones where personal space doesn’t exist – the literal opposite of the lives we’re forced to lead given the circumstances. Getting sweaty dancing and losing all sense of time – being so completely engulfed by sound that it’s impossible to think about anything else.
In my senior year of college, I freelanced for the Syracuse, NY news outlet, Syracuse.com and the Post Standard newspaper. The arts and entertainment editor sent me to concerts within an hour radius of the city and I wrote about them. Getting paid to go to 3ish shows a week and probably give myself permanent hearing damage from standing so close to take photos all the time? I got to see some of my all-time favorite bands and discover new favorite bands. It was awesome.
That job came at a very important time in my life. Most of my friends were a year older and had graduated. Later, I dealt with a hard breakup and uncertainty about my future as I searched for a job in a field that’s notoriously competitive and prone to layoffs. Concerts were always there, and I always knew that when I got in my car at the end of the show, I’d feel a sense of peace I struggled to achieve despite daily yoga sessions and a light course load that included drinking on a Tuesday night.*
Now that I’m in a similar place where I’m struggling to find mental peace in a world turned upside down by pandemic, I can’t help but think about my instant self-care fix: a good show. One that I was supposed to go in Denver to has been rescheduled for August, fortunately.
But since I started dancing every day, I’ve been able to find that same freedom of moving my body without input from my mind. Some days, it’s a struggle to not feel like I’m faking a sense of joy. But when the chords of certain songs hit, I disconnect. For a minute I can smile genuinely, fully, truly. Harder than I smile at that “I will never financially recover from this” meme from “Tiger King.”
If you’re interested, here’s some music that I like to dance to. I’ve curated this playlist for broad appeal, and there are some gems I’m keeping to myself. If you’re really that curious, email me.
*It was a wine and beer appreciation class. I’ve used more of what I learned in that class than some of my mandatory courses.
Casey Russell is the arts and entertainment editor and she’s alone in her house currently so that may explain the frenzied dancing. She might be going crazy. Email her at email@example.com.