By Elan Paulson
“Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself“Dancing in the Dark,” Bruce Springsteen
Hey there, baby, I could use just a little help.”
After months of being house-bound due to the COVID19 pandemic, folks may be searching for new ways to break up the monotony of their indoor exercise routines. Dark dancing has been there all along, just waiting to be discovered.
Chorophobia is the fear of dancing, which stems from feeling judged as other watch us move our bodies, and it is apparently more common than people think. In the video documentary, Fear of Dancing (2020), director Michael Allcock talks about how chorophobia is something we grow into as we get older.
The documentary features a Toronto-based group whose members “meet once a week to dance together in a darkly lit room.” During the pandemic, some of these dark dancers moved from in-person twilit sessions to dancing together in the dark…in their own homes.
On Monday nights, the Dark Dancing TO DJ sends a Zoom meeting or a Youtube stream link to the group. Requests may be taken in advance; a playlist is made. Then everybody logs on around the same time and just dances to the curated music–together yet apart–for a little over an hour.
I’ve been twice now. One week they used Zoom, and I turned on my camera but draped fabric over the camera for privacy. The next week, with the Youtube stream, there was no “room” to log into. Both times I did turn dance in the mostly dark…for authenticity.
For exercise, I find it fun. I can’t fail to score points like I do with Just Dance, and I won’t forget the choreography like I do in a live or recorded dance class. I get to wear comfortable clothes and have the whole floor to myself (except maybe other than my cat, Theo). And I hear music that I would never find on my own.
Both me and another dark dancer agreed that we prefer dark dancing in Zoom to the Youtube stream. You can’t see anyone either way, but there’s something about being with other people dark dancing, even if it’s only in a virtual room.
In addition to Dark Dancing TO, there are other social media groups and streaming sites that provide music and live DJs from around the world for listening and dancing. If you have chorophobia, or are just looking something different, this may be it!
Have you tried dark dancing? What do you think?
4 thoughts on “(Remote) Dark Dancing (Guest Post)”
I do not have chorophobia and I love to dance (and have attended zoom dance parties during COVID). I love this idea of dark dancing, too. I’m so glad you wrote this.
This is an idea I had not thought about. I love that a person can just come as they are.
This sounds fun! An hour would feel like a loooong time.
Random thought: I wonder if there are singing in the dark zoom groups, like the “car choirs” I’ve seen mentioned. That could be uplifting too.
(that “I’m just tired and bored with myself” is a bit on point for me right now)
An hour goes by kinda quickly. And I take water breaks when I don’t love the song. That’s a great question about dark choirs!
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