Hey Country Girl, Will You Shake It For Me… In Front Of Your Parents?! DANCE RECITAL REPORT!

June 24, 2013

Well, hello there…

Let me begin today’s post with a question on top of the already provocative question asked in the headline…

If you were planning an all ages dance recital with the theme being “Dancing Thru the USA” what would be the first song you would choose to kick off the THREE HOUR extravaganza?



Do you have an answer?

Is your answer, Shakira‘s song “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” also known as the theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which took place in South Africa? WAS IT?! BECAUSE APPARENTLY THAT’S THE RIGHT ANSWER!

Yep. Yep. Yep.

I mean I can’t think of a better song to start a THREE HOUR dance recital about the United States of America than a song recorded specifically for the last World Cup, which took place in an entirely different continent than the continent you are supposedly honoring with this dance. But hey, who says there needs to be any logic in how one celebrates America because I will say that the dance recital was a very American experience.

To clarify…

On Saturday from the hours of 1 – 4 pm, Danielle and I sat through a dance recital for the Branchville Dance Centre of Branchville, New Jersey where Danielle’s 3 year old niece attends. I, the dutiful boyfriend, accompanied Danielle in watching and clapping for nearly FIFTY – 50 – separate dance acts performed by children as young as 2 to as old as one college chick and a several high school girls.

It had been awhile since I had been in one of these situations. My older sister – 4 years older – definitely took all sorts of dance lessons as a kid and I was forced to sit through her recitals, but as a small child I had a shaky grasp of time, entertainment, and/or absurdity, and I’ve pretty much forgotten most of those recitals. But this recital was just watched in its entirety by my seasoned 30 year old brain in all its comical craziness, awkward sexuality, and unrelenting sparkly outfits.

Speaking of the outfits, if it were just these prepubescent and, recently, pubescent and, at times, very pubescent females just standing on this stage in these outfits without the rolling around on the ground or crotch shot spin kicks or back bends or thrusting or any of that and they were just perfectly still – IT WOULD STILL BE MOTHERFUCKING AWKWARD.

… then you throw in all the gyrations and you’ve got yourself a THREE HOUR show that I definitely should be at let alone FRONT AND FUCKING CENTER AT. Oh yeah, for whatever reason, I was chosen to sit in the middle of the aisle about 4 rows up and dead center staring at 15 year olds in spandex booty shorts just working it to an acapella version of “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction. … amazing, right?

As mentioned, the show started off with a Lion King like dance number to a song about Africa for a dance recital about America. What followed after that, I can’t remember. Specifically, I guess I drowned out my brain of act 2. But the third dance was the dance that Danielle and I came specifically to see and that was “Boogie Back to Texas” performed by 4 children with less of an understanding as to why any of this was happening than myself.

It was cute. Definitely cute. Cute and funny as kids tend to be. It was four girls all around 3 years old in these sunflower outfits being instructed by their teacher with an ironed-on smile to basically do the hokey pokey dance in front of a sold out audience of ecstatic and intense dance parents. The kids did a few of the moves. One did no moves and stood completely wooden the entire time and most likely didn’t retain any knowledge of that horror of being on stage.

Danielle’s niece had done this before last year, so she was following along to the dance about as good as expected. Put the foot in, put the foot out, put the foot in, wave to the crowd, do the spin a few seconds after the teacher did the spin, talk to the girl next to you, get back to doing the foot thing even though the teacher is doing a hand thing, do the hand thing afterward, spin because you feel like it, wave to the crowd… meanwhile, WE’RE LAUGHING OUR FUCKING HEADS OFF! LIKE FUCKING RICHARD PRYOR’S GREATEST STAND-UP SET OF ALL-TIME IS HAPPENING AND IT IS REDEFINING WHAT FUNNY IS.

As mentioned, as mentioned, the niece “performed” in the third dance of just shy of FIFTY. Which means, we sat and watched 40+ dances that involved kids we could not have given a bigger flying fuck about.

So, what else happened?

Well, the dance of 4 little girls barely functioning to “Boogie Back to Texas” in their sunflower costumes was then IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED by I’d guess a sophomore in High School wearing more or less a nude set of spanx underneath a shear nightie who dramatically interpreted Adele’s “Someone Like You”. … …. …. … … … Yeeeeaaaaapppp.

What does that have to do with America? Directly? I don’t know. Indirectly, I’d guess that this is exactly what is going on in my high school girls’ bedrooms and/or single 40 somethings bedrooms all over America when that song came out thinking about that one guy – that one guy who is now dating Stacey or married to Helen – and just having to let ones emotions out through the art of interpretive dance… in underwear.

The very next dance was the inspiration for the post title…

In a pair of lycra daisy duke shorts and a red sequin halter top, a high school chick tap danced and shook IT for the audience to Luke Bryan’s modern classic “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)”. Mind blowing.

I had never heard this song before. I avoid pop country like the plague… the plague that it actually is… and with one listen I have not been able to get this song out of my head. While I’m not disputing its catchiness nor its obvious popularity at 11.5 million views on the ole’ Youtube, but let’s just be truthful that there is no way that this song isn’t sexual. I don’t care how some people might like to pretend pop country is family friendly, but it isn’t. I mean Luke Bryan is trying to turn “country girls” into strippers and while that is the Lord’s work in my eyes – I’m admittedly not the most holy person you’ll ever read a blog by.

Anyway, the girl was actually pretty great at tap dancing. She was also pretty great at tap dancing and shaking her butt and thighs at the audience. And those were in equal parts what we were watching – some tap dancing, some butt/thigh shaking. And this song is easily 4 minutes long and it was 4 minutes of said activities. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the difference between what some see as family friendly and what in other venues would be seen as lewd, but I guess it is like a lot of criminal cases and it boils down to intent.

I’m not going to go through all 40 some odd performances, but like I said they ranged from little kids barely moving to a lot of young girls in booty shorts to several fully developed high school girls pretty much tight rope walking the line of community dance troop and halftime show at a Dallas Cowboys’ game.

The positives I took away from it is that tap dancing is not a dead art form, which honestly I’m happy to see it is alive and well. Also, I really need to invest in a spandex booty short manufacture because those things are every where. And, everyone seemed to be having a good time and the like and one 11 year old has actually become successful and will be touring with the Radio City Music Hall Spectacular, so good for that kid.

There were a few boys in this event if you were wondering. There was one really little one who danced with a few fellow aged little girls to “Deep in the Heart of Texas” which was actually very amusing. Another boy tap danced to some song with a few other girls. And then there were 4 boys who were involved in a hip hop dance number with a bunch of girls of the same age.

I didn’t care for the “hip hop” dance numbers for the complete awkwardness of them and the setting of these woodsy white people and older woodsy white people watching them. Plus, all the hip hop numbers eventually had the kids line-up in the two back corners of the stage in what looked like lay-up line drills, so each one could take a running start and then knee-slide across the stage. While, that is completely boring and tiresome after one or two of them doing it, there’s like 20 of them and only a few of them can actually slide more than a foot. Most approached their slide like they were preparing to leap from the top of one building to the next with no hope of clearing the gap.

Also, the one hip hop dance number with the boys really highlighted the difference in outfits between boys and girls very dramatically. They’re all middle-school kids probably 8th grade at the oldest and the boys are wearing baggy JNCO jeans with straps hanging from them and t-shirts and baseball hats. The girls are wearing t-shirts with sweatshirt hoods sewn on and those spandex black booty shorts with knee high socks. Boys – fully clothed. Girls – lots of thigh and butt and sometimes that optical illusion where the t-shirt covers the shorts because they’re that short that it looks like all they’re wearing is a t-shirt and no bottoms at all. Whatever.

I guess my mind is too unwholesome to begin with to see the wholesomeness.

There was an intermission for this marathon show, which came back to a horrible cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” possibly by John Mayer with crosses on stage and the 14 year olds draped all over them and then being carried into the air in crucifix pose. So, it wasn’t ALL sexual.

So, there was that.

Mad Men‘s season finale was dull.

VEEP is the best show on television.

I made Danielle watch Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle’s cannibal period piece Ravenous, which she did enjoy and I highly recommend to everyone ever.

How was your weekend?!

8 Responses to “Hey Country Girl, Will You Shake It For Me… In Front Of Your Parents?! DANCE RECITAL REPORT!”

  1. I later overheard my mom say something about “how great it is that they don’t have them in provocative costumes” at that dance company. Am I more prudish than my own mother? Or are mom’s just so pure and innocent that they’re beyond sexualizing these things and the two of us are deviants?

    • tiffanized said

      It’s because of moral relativity. My sister-in-law keeps sharing “modest” swimsuits on Facebook and I’m like, yeah, but a hundred years ago or in Afghanistan it would be scandalous.

      And yet, if heaven is real, we’ll likely all be nude.


  2. tiffanized said

    My oldest kid used to dance. She had a recital like this and she was one of the last ones to go onstage because some numbfuck decided that 9:45 pm on a Tuesday is a totally appropriate time for 3-year-olds to perform a stupid dance in an itchy costume in front of five hundred strangers. This thing started at 5 pm and no one told me they lasted approximately twelve years so I thought we’d grab dinner on the way home. They separated us so my kid was backstage for almost five hours without me, hungry and dressed like a goddamned sexy baby duck.

    I still have a picture of her in that costume, what went on to be called by my family the “angry duck” picture because my kid’s eyebrows were pointier than Satan’s and I’m pretty sure she was mad enough to defeat the Dark Underlord single handedly.

  3. PWG said

    I sat through a 3 hour elementary school talent show, in which my children were not even participating, so I feel you. It consisted of every Taylor Swift song ever, lip synched in the loosest sense. Basically they just played all of Taylor’s albums while 25 different girls mumbled into a microphone. When/if you have kids you’ll find out its not just the endless karate classes and music lessons and piano recitals or whatever, you’re also supposed to participate in their school festivals and talent shows and class parties and fall festivals and cake walks and field days and field trips and on and on and on and on. And the birthday parties, good fucking Lord, the endless birthday parties.

    In fact right now I’m at a huge warehouse with bowling alley carpeting and 30 trampolines, listening to what is most assuredly not my radio station blasting at air carrier level decibels.

    I don’t want a pasta necklace for Mother’s Day, I want airline liquor bottles.

  4. NixHaw said

    I used to dance in these recitals. I was a penguin once. I didn’t think I was a sexy penguin, but apparently, relativity… I don’t know if the waiting for the 12 years the recitals take (and they do) was worse for the kids or the audience. I think it was worse for the kids coz at least the audience got to watch something to keep them occupied. Pointing, laughing, gasping with shock, you know, that kind of thing. I was also a 1920s flapper. I guess that was maybe sexy…. For a 9 year old… ?

    I don’t get the Waka Waka song being used…

    Well, done Jordan on fulfilling your boyfriendly duties so graciously.

  5. MyRobbie said

    Good Christ, but ditto to everything you said. Especially about the forgetting how weird this whole thing is for about, I don’t know, thirty years. I keep telling myself that since I was in ballet outfits when I was a girl and we were dancing to classical music that it was different, but maybe not, I suppose.

    A few years ago my daughter and I suffered through this situation (she was five) and I was so effin traumatized that I came directly home and power-washed my back patio and ruined my shoes. I mean, I didn’t change out of my dress and nice shoes. I just marched inside, dropped daughter off with husband and marched right out back and plugged that super loud, super powerful water gun on and had at all the moss on my patio. I couldn’t talk for a while, is I guess what I’m saying. Plus I needed something kind of like a non-lethal machine gun in my hand.

    The thing is, I had no idea. None. It was such a shock. I’m with heyybrother, in that I’m thinking of all the old ladies in the audience, “They approve of this? How are these teenagers not auditioning for an opening at the local strip club? How is it in any way appropriate for a nine year old to hip-thrust in extremely short shorts? Why aren’t the boys forced to wear speedos? You know, just to be fair.” And on and on.

    Look at me! Your post brought back the trauma! Whew! I might need to go power-wash something!

  6. MyRobbie said

    Oh and also (don’t mean to commandeer your comment thread), I thought of two other things to say. 1. We live kind of near each other (although I’m not from NJ) and so maybe this is specific to NJ? Like a local kool-aid kind of phenomenon? and 2. It was on that day that I realized, as to parenting, that I’m going to now do whatever the hell I want. I’m never again going to listen to all the other moms who say things like, “Oh, Johnny has to do soccer. Everyone goes to St. Mary’s,” or “Anna just has to take dance. We love the American Dance Academy on Route 34. They’re really good.” Lies. It was freeing, in a way, that recital. I kind of needed it. My daughter was too young to remember too much about it too.

    Anyway, glad to read your opinions on this. The internet is great for making people feel not so alone in some situations. This is one of those situations!

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