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You’re invited: Slightly-guided dance party

| Tuesday, September 10, 2019

I fell in love at the Homecoming dance. Barefoot in the center of the high school gym, the floor littered with pink and white petals from corsages torn to bits in the frenzy, I spun in circles with my closest friends. We jumped around with our hands in the air. We dropped it low and took it to the top. We shuffled and shimmied and slid around. We twisted and tangoed and tossed our hair. We danced to every song we recognized and didn’t stop until we were sweating in our fancy dresses, clutching invisible microphones as we sang along at the top of our lungs. If anyone was watching, we didn’t care because we didn’t even notice, so caught up in our own choreography. We were feeling ourselves in every sense, having left all inhibitions and our high heels at the door.

I fell in love with the space we created, where we could dance freely and badly without being embarrassed or shy, and while it’s been hard to replicate the same energy as a high school dance, I think I’ve found the next closest thing.

“The L.A. City Municipal Dance Squad is a group of women who encourage each other and inspire others to let go of any dancing insecurities,” dancer and founder Angela Trimbur said, and an opportunity to “give yourself permission to feel like a teen again.” Trimbur created the squad in 2014, after taking to social media and offering to teach anyone interested some dance moves to perform at halftime for her community basketball league’s games. Before this, Trimbur had released a video series titled Dance Like Nobody’s Watching, filming herself doing just that in a laundromat, an airport and other public places. The squad has grown since their first performance, with women of all skill levels joining.

“I created the L.A. City Municipal Dance Squad to give a group of women a place to be weird,” Trimbur said in a “Time” series featuring women across America. Over the past year, the squad has hosted monthly workshops or “Slightly Guided Dance Parties,” providing cis and transgender women with the space to be brave, build strong female friendships and explore the benefits of dancing like nobody is watching.

The squad embraces the glam of Jazzercise in the ’80s, wearing graphic leggings, bright leotards and tall socks. At workshops, they strap on kneepads and bust out intricate floor work. They hype each other up and shout affirmations during solos, experimenting with movement and trust all while cracking jokes and making mistakes. They’re not afraid to mess up. These women are confident and fun and effortlessly cool (L.A. cool), and I want to be friends with them. I want to dance with them.

L.A. City Municipal Dance Squad have yet to take their workshops out of state, but I look forward to the day they bring the party to South Bend. Until then, I’ve got a studio reserved in Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex and a playlist full of bops. Anyone down for a slightly guided dance party?

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