Last week on the PRI radio show Weekend America, a nice listener (Jane Goodman from Cleveland) called in to voice her opinion on the Dance Dance Party Party story that aired on January 26. She had this to say:
“I loved the story about the Chicago Dance Party – how it was a safe place where women to go to let go without making a public spectacle of themselves. That is – I loved it until I heard the ubiquitous – “you can see this on our website.” Huh? Doesn’t showing pictures of their party on the web completely negate the idea of a safe, private place?”
We just wanted to thank Jane for taking the time to call in and give her opinion and thank Weekend America for airing it. We have certainly struggled in figuring if and how DDPP should be visually covered in the media. We almost canceled a news crew coming in to videotape and photographers coming in to shoot because we felt it might compromise that safe feeling people have in class. But in thinking that – we were working off the assumption that ladies would feel self-conscious and awkward and unsafe with video taping in the room. So to test it out – we simply asked the ladies whether or not they minded being photographed or taped. We had decided in advance that if anyone was not comfortable – we would either not allow visual documentation at all, or we would make a safe zone of the room in which anyone not wanting to be shown could dance without getting in the picture. And much much much to our surprise, in the 2 photo shoots and 1 news crew we’ve had visit, every one has given their permission every time to be captured while dancing!
Rather than feeling embarrassed or discomforted or compromised – we have come to realize that showing what the dance party looks like in action is actually really liberating! We feel that all too often women are made to feel ashamed or guilty or judged if they are letting loose or being silly in a public place. So in a way, not allowing cameras into DDPP makes it seem as though we think what we’re doing is embarrassing or not socially acceptable or something super secretive and sacred that only those who dare to come can experience. But that’s not how it is. We want to be able to show anyone and everyone that DDPP is proud to be doing what its doing ! We’re not squeamish about being vulnerable. We’re not uncomfortable moving our bodies in front of strangers. We’re just being who we are, and that deserves to be seen if the people want to see it!
Another bonus to having photos and video of what DDPP is like is that it can also assuage any fears newcomers might have. We’ve found that even after explaining to women how casual and unstructured the class is – sometimes they still don’t “get” what it would be like. But just seeing a photo or watching a little video of DDPP in action is enough to provide that understanding, and that eureka moment in which a lady can either say “Holy crap! DDPP is totally for me!” or “No thanks, I’m not comfortable taking part in this menagerie.” And that saves all of us a lot of discomfort!
So thank you to Jane for your comment! We understand and appreciate where you’re coming from, and we hope that more ladies will be encouraged to come after seeing these photos showing how much fun DDPP is! (So far it looks like it’s working – 27 new cities have asked to start their own chapters! That’s something even I couldn’t picture!)
Speaking of videos, here’s one of the New York Chapter (aka – the mother ship!). Enjoy!