In “Yes Please,” the new memoir by comedienne and actress Amy Poehler, the author explains the power of the spontaneous dance party. It’s a way, she writes, for people to get out of their heads and into their bodies, to just be in the moment. Poehler is a big fan of the spontaneous dance party, incorporating it into personal gatherings and business meetings.
I finished “Yes Please” last week, “reading” it via the Audible app on my phone on my commute to and from work (It was my first Audible book; I am now a big fan, and no, this is not a sponsored post). Listening to a good (and, in this case, funny) book was a terrific way to deal with constant traffic in and around the Boston area, decreasing, if possible, am-I-really-stuck-at-another-red-light induced stress.
As the last chapter of “Yes Please” ended, I pulled into my driveway, the Christmas lights sparkling in the dark sky. I sat in the car for a few moments, thinking.
The past few weeks had been hectic with holiday preparations and personal obligations. I had been trying to cross a number of items off of my to-do list at work before the holidays. And then a colleague lost a friend in a car accident. She was, as you can imagine, devastated. I was reminded of our fragility and of how to-do list and holiday shopping aren’t really things to stress about.
I walked in my front door, as my husband and children were finishing up dinner. Normally, the next step was bedtime, but, inspired by Poehler and touched by my colleague’s loss, I called for a dance party. A spontaneous dance party.
My husband turned on the music, and we gathered in our living room. We put on hits from the 1980s and learned that our kids do not care much for Def Leppard and Van Halen but that they are fans of MC Hammer and Run DMC. Our daughter changed into a special outfit for the dance party—a bright pink leotard and stripped tights with a headband that made her look very much like a Jane Fonda aerobics video extra. Our son worked on his break dancing moves. My husband and I laughed and relived our teenage years through our favorite songs. We spun around the room, together and one by one. We all, as Poehler recommended, got out of heads and embraced the moment. It was just what we needed.
The kids have been calling for dance parties since then, and on Christmas Day, they’ll have a disco ball under the tree to unwrap. Santa, after all, is also a fan of dancing.