Random Dancing

17 Jan

Friends of ours from Ann Arbor, MI have a family tradition that tickles me pink. At unsuspecting moments, they will crank up the stereo and declare, “Dance Party!” Once the call has been made, they and their children (who are now 12- and 10-years-old) drop whatever they’re doing and get their groove on–they jump, wiggle, slide, and shimmy all around the room. Most of the time they’re at home for the Dance Party, but sometimes the call comes when they’re in the car (especially on long road trips), and while they get some strange looks from passersby, they swear it makes the time on the road go much faster.

What I particularly love about this family’s dancing ritual is that they are not professional musicians or dancers. They’re not even semi-professional, or amateurs with a bunch of training. They are just regular folks with regular jobs who have chosen to raise their kids with bursts of random dancing woven into the fabric of their lives. And this I believe is the role that music is meant to play in our lives–it’s a way of being. I see it in my classes all the time: in the babies who automatically bounce their torsos up and down when they feel the beat; in the toddlers who singsong-speak to their moms on the notes we’ve just been singing; and in the big kids who find the parts of songs that speak to them and go their own way regardless of what the rest of the group is up to.

So, why not try a little Dance Party of your own at home, sometime. Who knows, you could start a family tradition that loosens up your pre-dinner crazy time, eases the pain of the long car ride, and gives you a fun way of just being together, musically.

P.S. I borrowed the phrase “random dancing” from the Nickelodeon show, iCarly. At the end of every episode, a voice calls out, “Rand-om danc-ing!,” and the cast starts bouncing around the set. The First Lady will do a little random dancing of her own on an upcoming episode of the show, which my husband found interesting and announced that newsy tidbit to our daughter, which led my 9-year-old to bop around the room, which got me thinking about our Ann Arbor friends, which led me to write this post. So, I owe the show a debt of dancing gratitude.

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