Can We Kill Choreographed Line Dancing at Weddings?
At my cousin’s wedding, I got up to get my brother and myself another round of drinks. It was late in the reception, and because of the change in music half the crowd on the dance floor had returned to their seats. Maria Griffith’s “Electric Boogie” began to blast from the speakers, meaning that those who remained on the dance floor started to perform the Electric Slide. To get to the bar, I had to skirt the outside of the dance floor. As I was hoping to avoid the small group of loosely synchronized line dancers, one of them grabbed my arm and pulled me into the Electric Sliders. As I was no longer in eighth grade, I thought my time of being forced to awkwardly perform the Electric Slide had passed. But there I was at 26, with 10 other people on the dance floor being forced to sashay back and forth and do that awkward clap that no one does at the right time, when Maria Griffith’s lyrics reach “it’s electric, boogie woogie woogie woogie.” Most of the Electric Sliders were not sure of the proper moves and we ended up taking our queues from the one single spinster aunt who was happy to show off that she knew the entire dance and gave a harsh stare to those of us who stepped out of line. Ric Silver would probably sue us all.
Really, are we still doing the Electric Slide? Maybe there is a place for it at retro-disco dance clubs, but not at weddings. I am not against any song which has an accompanying dance, just songs that force everyone on the dance floor to do that dance correctly, or be booted off the floor. Placing the awkwardness of disco line dances on wedding guests is cruel. Line dancing should not be a part of any wedding ceremony. This includes newer hip hop echoes of the Electric Slide: DJ Casper’s “Cha Cha Slide” and Soulja Boy’s “Crank Dat.” Not only do they force a room full of people to do the same choreographed dance, but these songs replace much better music that could be playing.
Luckily, some of these line dances are dying out. Of the six weddings I’ve been to in the past year, not once has the “Chicken Dance” been played, nor have I heard the “Macarena,” though I shudder when I declare the “Macarena” dead fearing I will jinx myself. But while the “Macarena” and “Chicken Dance” made people look like fools and forced them to listen two of the worst songs ever created, they still let people look foolish as individuals. They did not force everyone else from the dance floor who chose not to perform them. And if they were performing them incorrectly no one had to endure the spinster Aunt’s stink eye.
During the same wedding where I was forced to Electric Side, the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” blasted from the speakers. People, young and old, rushed the dance floor. Even my father and Uncle Mike danced to “Shout.” “Shout” had the complete opposite effect from the Electric Slide. It brought people to the dance floor, mainly because dancing to “Shout” is fun. We crouched down, we jumped up, we sang along. Yes, there is a way to dance to “Shout”—think Animal House and Otis Day and the Knights. But part of the fun to dancing to “Shout” is messing up. Even falling during the “a little bit softer now” is acceptable. It’s not hard to remember all the words. It requires no coordination, just maybe a few drinks in your system.
As for more songs with existing dances in weddings, I more than welcome anything by Michel Jackson. And every one of his songs has a dance to it, but no one is going to think less of anyone on the dance floor if they don’t spin around and grab their crotch to “Billy Jean.” Most weddings I have been to every Lady Gaga song that is played also has a favorable reception, but everyone knows that trying to do the “Poker Face” dance is a make-a-fool-out-of-yourself-on-your-own endeavor, and by no means drag other people into it.
So, it is time to eliminate the Electric Slide and all forced line dancing from weddings. No one is going to do the Hokey Pokey. Well, unless it is a 1970s roller-disco-themed wedding. In that case, every song should be a line dance. Just make sure someone is there to hold grandma’s hand when she does the “Hustle.”