The phenomenon that is Dance Dance Party Party (DDPP) was started in 2006 by New Yorkers Glennis McMurray and Marcy Girt after they had grown tired of the club dance scene but still wanted to boogie—for the sake of both fitness and fun. Last Thursday, though, I wasn’t feeling it. All I wanted to do was stay curled up on the couch with my laptop—but I was not about to let winter laziness, the freezing temperatures, or my nervousness about my terrible dance moves among complete strangers stop me from getting the story on DDPP.
|ddpp helpful hints
1. wear what you would wear to the gym. on my first visit, i wore jeans and a long sleeved shirt. bad idea.
When I arrived at the café, I introduced myself to DDPP Twin Cities “den mother” Megan Krejny—a Cleveland native and recent Minneapolis transplant via Chicago. “I told myself that if Dance Dance Party Party didn’t have a chapter in Minneapolis when I got here that I would start one myself,” explained Krejny as we spoke before what would be the third instance of the event since its November 13th inauguration.
By the time we got started, I realized there would only be five of us in all, including our den mother. Krejny explained the rules, which I knew already included No Boys, and No Booze. “Most importantly,” she said, “there is no judgment. You are not allowed to judge the fellow dancers and most of all, you aren’t allowed to judge yourself. Also—there is no talking. I know, you want to dance and talk to your friends, but believe me, it’s for the best.”
At first I was surprised at that rule, but it turned out to be the true essence of what DDPP is about: you aren’t allowed to chat nervously with your friends. You just have to dance it out. And as DJ Jazzy Jen’s set began with Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement” and merged into Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” in all of its torn t-shirt, running-in-place glory, I managed to distance my inner judgment of myself and get in the zone. By the time David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” pumped through the speakers, I had unleashed my inner dance monster and broke out moves I never knew I even had. Maybe it wasn’t pretty, but it was simply freeing, and I really did not want it to end. And it certainly didn’t—I practically danced my way home, and made my plans to return with a vengeance.
Jen Paulson is a freelance writer based in Minneapolis. Her book of essays, Best.Song.Ever., should be on shelves by 2019.