Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 30: Dance

Tonight was the Snow Ball, a benefit dance party at the Rockport Opera House to benefit the Ragged Mountain redevelopment project. Music was provided by The Awesome, an 80s cover band--perfect for the diverse crowd moving and shaking on the dance floor. Having grown up in the 80s, I feel kind of proprietary about the music--this was the stuff we used to dance to in the high school gym way back when, when it mattered who danced with whom. Now, older and supposedly wiser, I went with two women friends and we danced unselfconsciously wherever we happened to be, with whomever happened to be near us for almost the entire evening. My legs are sore, and my throat is hoarse from yelling back and forth above the music, but I also know I smiled so much my face hurts and had a great time letting loose. And I wasn't even dressed in 80s attire like many were--that off-the-shoulder Flashdance look, the slouchy boots, the leg warmers, teased hair in hair clips... Ah, the good old days.

It's funny how when you hear stuff you grew up with, music you forgot you even knew, it all comes rushing back to you--the words, the thrill of hearing that favorite song, the whole tone of an angst-ridden decade of one's life. Reminiscing with some people I went to high school with, we all seemed a little surprised by how much we enjoyed this trip down memory lane. It was certainly helped by the fact that half the town was crowded into the room, dancing, almost everyone there knowing everyone else and sharing with wild abandon this one winter night together. It's fitting in a cheesy 80s way, I think, to say something about the bonding power of music, especially rocking' music like the Talking Heads, Devo, and Madonna, songs that you can't help but move to. Everyone Wang Chung-ed, burned down the house, whipped it good, wore their sunglasses at night, and wanted to rule the world with whole-hearted enthusiasm. Several people said that our community needs to do something like this more often. As Whitney Houston (and The Awesome) sang, "Hey, I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody..." Tonight a bunch of people thrashed around and sweated and smiled together, and it felt like a true community event. (And after, when we opened that door to step out into the 12 degree evening, I think it was the first time all day that cold slap in the face actually felt good.)

Winter dance party--
a packed hall, 80s music.
I was once sixteen.

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