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Silent Disco: Not My Scene

Allie Tollaksen | Monday, April 8, 2013

I hate to dance.

I’m convinced it’s in my blood. My parents are some of the worst dancers I’ve ever met (sorry, mom and dad). Wedding receptions aren’t fun for me, they’re just painful reminders of my genetically inherited inability to move my body to music. Similarly, I rarely attend SYRs or formals and when I do you can generally find me chatting in the corner rather than “breaking it down” with my date. Though I appreciate the art of dance and enjoy dance music, simply put, I cannot dance. 

Of course as an outspoken non-dancer, to say I was hesitant to go to the Silent Disco at Legends would be an understatement. Though Maggie ensured me that it would be a fun time of dancing like fools, I was close to positive it would be me, and only me, looking like a fool. While Maggie would bust out her P-Fresh moves, I thought, I would stand helplessly in the middle of the dance floor. This would be a disaster, I was sure. 

I had never been to a Silent Disco before, so when our group arrived at Legends on Saturday night, it immediately became a learning experience. I turned in my student ID, hands shaking with anxiety, in exchange for a pair of brightly colored headphones. A man showed me how to switch between the two available stations, and I turned around and quickly realized that there were two live DJs playing at each one. I was impressed by this fact, originally expecting nothing but top-40 hits being streamed into our headphones, not live mixes or multiple options.

Upon turning around and spotting the DJs, however, I also spotted the crowd that had turned out for the Silent Disco, and by “crowd,” I mean 12 people. Suddenly, my biggest fears flashed before my eyes. As a bad dancer, I have taken solace in large crowds. It’s generally understood that if you’re in a tightly packed room of aggressive dancers, you can get away with not knowing what you’re doing. But this was not the case that fateful Saturday night. I was stuck to face my dancing fears in an open room. I became painfully aware that my “moves” were going to be on display for all of my friends and fellow dancers to see. 

Though Maggie may try to convince you that having so few people at the Silent Disco is a great opportunity to tear up the dance floor and utilize a lot of space to really get down, I must disagree. As much as I wanted to take up space and perform some kind of “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”-style dance number, I found myself dancing in place for a majority of the night. Fewer people, unfortunately, does not mean more or better dancing, at least in my case. 

Instead, I spent most of my time loitering around the water fountain or doubled over laughing. I will say, however, that as an audiophile I did enjoy the dueling DJs playing two different types of music. It was refreshing to be able to switch between a station of poppy hits and more electronic, underground music. I had the opportunity to lip-synch obnoxiously to Icona Pop and then switch to a remix of an obscure electronic song. If you have an interest in dance music at all, I do suggest you give Silent Disco a try. 

Though I could probably sum up my experience with the word “awkward,” I don’t want to entirely dispel you from dancing in a silent room with a group of strangers. If you’re like my confident friend Maggie, you may find yourself having a great time. Just make sure you bring some moves (you can ask Maggie for those, not me) and a lot of friends. Many, many friends. Just bring all of your friends. 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Allie Tollaksen at atollaks@nd.edu