I am no foreigner to the one person dance party. I might have invented it. By giving it a name, that is.
As the name indicates, it’s pretty simple to put into effect. You need music, okay? Music that is appropriately danceable and loud for you. Personally, I like my music loud enough so that I can only hear my heartbeat and the insistent worrying of potentially causing myself ear damage. Tunes on? Excellent. Now, I know it’s pretty hard to not immediately start dancing but you need to find a place to dance. Where you’re standing is probably perfect but maybe it isn’t. I have most of my one person dance parties in my bedroom. Though, I’ve had one person dance parties on subway platforms, while waiting on lines for various institutions, in supermarket aisles. Not ready for public places? That’s okay. I have my best one person dance parties while in the company of only myself.
I don’t wait for the beat to drop. I don’t even count out the beat like I usually do when I go dancing with friends. I just move. I kick my legs and pump my fists. I wiggle my bottom and sway. I dance like I’m in the company of the best dancer in the world. And, to be honest, for however long my dancing lasts, I am the best dancer in the world. When I really start to groove, when I start dreaming about wearing bellbottoms and having the most fly afro and shimmying my way down the Soul Train line, I open my mouth to sing. I’ll tell you now, I’m not a great singer but I can keep tune. I can keep tune and I can vogue like a diva and I’ve mastered singing both main and backup parts. I usually grab something to act as a mic, but sometimes the mic gets in my way. Singing and dancing act as a release and I cannot be bothered with the formalities of performance.
I usually dance myself into a sweat and I have to remove my shirt or shorts or both. I don’t question my body. I don’t think about how nice I would feel if I lost a few pounds or toned up a bit. I don’t think any part of me is anything but perfect. I stretch my arms above my head and seductively carry them down the sides of my body. I spin and whisper, to my imaginary boyfriend, “Let’s do it again.” Then I start dancing one half of a dance meant for two but I dance passionately enough that I convince myself if someone else was actually here, they’d get hurt. Invisible boyfriend keeps up as best as he can. He leans against a wall to take a breath and I run over to him, pin him to wall with one hand and give him something that resembles a lap dance, but I’m not really sure what all a lap dance entails. It’s awkward and I feel myself getting nervous, wanting to retreat, but I push through it. “Thank you.”
The song changes. It’s Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. Invisible boyfriend refuses to continue dancing and I’m not disappointed. This is a one person dance party, after all.
I close my eyes and imagine the music video. I imagine how beautiful she looked and how much fun she was having. I mimic her liveliness, and imagine an entire row of backup dancers behind me, and miss the 80’s I barely lived in. And I plead with the universe to let me dance with somebody who loves me.