Begun in 2006, DDPP™ is the creation of New York City residents Glennis McMurray and Marcy Girt. The two friends loved dancing at the clubs with gal pals, but loathed cover charges, getting hit on and reeking of alcohol and cigarettes the next day.
The set-up is simple: an hour of booty-busting tunes, a dance studio or other room with the lights turned low, and women willing to let go. Although McMurray and Girt began the class on a whim, they found it struck an unexpected chord. “DDPP started as a way to work out and have fun without the conformity of a gym – how often have you heard your favorite song while you’re on the treadmill and wanted to hop off to do a real running man?” said McMurray. “But it has morphed into this amazing revolution of sorts where women come to find that little girl inside us all who just wants to have fun!”
Through word of mouth alone, over a dozen DDPP™ chapters have cropped up all over the USA and internationally. Women around the world are responding to this liberating atmosphere where they are free to goof around, shake their bodies without objectification and feel good about who they are.
I don’t get it. What do you do?
Well when you first walk in the room we’ll probably all be standing around waiting for the fun to start. The lights go down, a poor-gal’s version of a disco ball starts up and the music blasts. There’s a mirror you can watch yourself dance in if you want or you can move toward the back and groove back there. And by groove we mean GROOVE. Let the music get inside you! There’s no instructor and no rules (except the no judgment thing) so you can do whatever you want! Every once in a while we’ll all start doing a simple dance step we love (we call that spontaneous choreography—SO FUN!) and you can do that with us… or do your own thing! Are you seeing a pattern here? Just come, sing along, move around a little and we swear you will leave on cloud 9.
Why ladies only?
We like keeping it a fun, free environment where we don’t have to worry about impressing anyone except ourselves. Having guys in the room would change the dynamic and we’re pretty pleased with the way it is.
What should I wear?
Wear workout clothes because you will SWEAT. Definitely don’t wear jeans and if you come in layers expect them to be peeled off. Trust us. Other than that just wear whatever you feel most comfortable in!
What if I can’t dance?
Don’t worry, neither can we! And besides, no one will be watching you so even if you’re the worst dancer of all time, the only one who’ll notice is you. After a while you’ll begin to realize you’re a much better dancer than you think.
Can I show off my moves if I’m a dancer?
Sure. Why not! Just make sure you don’t injure anyone or make the whole class about you showing off your moves because that might get boring for the rest of us. But if you can do a mean “worm”, then show it off!
I have no rhythm. What if everyone laughs at me?
If anyone laughs at you they are OUT OF THERE. One of our only rules (as you’ll see below) is that all judgments are left outside so we really have no problem telling someone to step if they’re making anyone uncomfortable.
So you DO have rules!
We have three: No booze, no boys, no judgment. Sounds like the perfect formula for a good time, doesn’t it?
Can I DJ?
Yes you can! We’d love for you to! And just to be clear, by “DJ” we mean putting together a kick-butt mix on your ipod and rocking our worlds with it at DDPP so there really aren’t any actual “DJ” skills needed. All we ask is that you attend at least one session before you do so you can get an idea of the feel and what people love to dance to. Plus, whenever you DJ, you get to dance for free.
Can I bring friends?
Please do! DDPP is even better with friends!
Can I start DDPP in my town?
You bet! Just talk to the Chicago ladies first so they can help you out with it. We’d love to take DDPP all over the country and beyond but we want to make sure the concept stays the same. Email them at ddppchicago[at]gmail[dot]com to get started!
Ok, so Dance Dance Party Party can be something you just show up for and are loose enough to let go and break it down without inhibitions, enjoying the music and yourself and life in general. Or it can be entirely nervewracking. Many of us are not used to jumping and spinning and booty-shaking it with others around, and it takes some getting used to, some practice to pull the crazy freak that you are out of her shell. So here’s a few ways our DDPP Wellington, NZ Den Mother, Beth Williams, came up with to gradually let loose, that help us a lot and may help you, too.
- Step away from your friends.
While having friends around is great for mutual encouragement and affirmation, you’re not at DDPP for encouragement and affirmation from others. You’re there for YOU, and no one is going to lead you to the grooves that only you have inside of you, that must break free and be laid down at last to those funky, funky beats. Now, look at your friends getting down all alone in that corner or over by the mirror—they have some fab moves you never knew about, don’t they?
If you’re feeling all excited and maybe a little nervous to be in a new place being asked to splay your bad self out to the world (or at least a roomful of other women), it’s possibly too obvious, but breathing will slow you down, let you hear the music and feel the good energies around you from other people having a good time. Breathing offers some focus, which may help you see that there’s no one to compete with or prove anything to when you’re dancing. You’re frickin’ gorgeous when you’re being yourself.
- Try a Technique!
Ok, now that you’ve stepped away from those lovely pals of yours, and given breathing a try to bring yourself on home, maybe you need a technique to get you started, something that will let you see what that brain and body of yours has to offer. Here’s a few:
- Pretend there’s a little kid there that you’re dancing for. This makes you dance funny. You can dance and be funny and have fun? Well, yes you can.
- Act like you’re the singer, or one of the backup singers for the song. How would they dance? Hold that microphone and sing to the crowd. And why not?
- Teach yourself some steps. Move your arm over there, then look the other way. There’s one. Kick. There’s another. Build on them one by one and pretty soon you got yourself a dance of your very own.
- Can you dance like never before with a certain friend or family member around? I used to have dance-offs with my younger sister, and boy could I throw it down around her. I call this person your dancin’ muse cause they trigger something in you that makes you remember how to dance. So if you got one, imagine that muse is there in the room with you, dancing too, or watching, or whatever they do.
- Dedicate one whole song to one body part, like your arms. or your knees. or your toes. See how this body part can dance. What? It’s another song already? Hmm, what other body parts do you have?
- Is there somewhere that you like dance by yourself, like your living room or your bedroom? Pretend you’re there. It works only for a short while, but that may be all you need to lift yourself into the otherworldly place that you need to git on up in.
- If the song tells a story, act it out. Take, for example, Copacabana. Be one of the roles, or all of them. Or make up a story to the music and dance it out. That could be a very good time, indeed.
- Be one of the instruments playing. Dance to that tune or beat, and see what comes of it. aw, yeah.
- Feel hidden (in several ways).
- Are you the only one on the dance floor, or does it feel like that? It’s easier to feel all incognito and do just what you want to when it’s crowded and you feel relatively hidden, so imagine you’re surrounded by heaps of people. Now take advantage of all that space, and flail about at will: invisible people don’t mind getting whacked.
- Get a disguise. Did you know that the first recorded human activity that we know of is dancing in costume? It’s still done now – look at Carnival, Mardi Gras, Halloween. When we’re in costume, we can let go of our inhibitions and become someone else. And the next day, everyone is talking about that person in the superhero costume who was getting DOWN, while you snicker knowingly in the corner. Wigs are awesome, though they get hot after a while. Glasses work well, as do frilly square-dancing skirts, odd makeup, capes. Go with it.
If you have techniques or suggestions on how to dance in public, let us know and we’ll add to the list. You can email us at ddpptwincities[at]gmail[dot]com, or maybe you can comment here…