Since before Max could walk, one of our favorite things to do together has been dancing. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of rocking out to 80’s hairband music with my mom, so I always knew I’d want to do the same thing with my kids. We frequently have what we call “dance parties”, where we listen to some really loud up-beat music for a couple of hours, and dance ’til we can’t dance no more. We really go nuts, head-banging to the rock songs, twisting and shaking when appropriate, doing the mashed potato… It’s really fun when he has a friend over and we all take turns choosing the songs.
About a year ago, we came up with the idea of taking “dance breaks” throughout the day. This means that at any given time, no matter what’s going on, if one of us cranks a tune and yells, “Dance Break,” we are under complete and total obligation to stop what we’re doing to get up and dance for the duration of one song. It’s awesome. I’m telling you, the burst of energy that comes from this is quite invigorating. It’s a great way to break up the mundanity of the day. There’s no way, no matter what was going on before, that two people can be snippy with each other after shaking their booties to some James Brown. It’s just not possible.
Some favorite “dance break” songs (click to be taken to Youtube):
1. Get Up Offa That Thing by James Brown (THE #1 most effective, although just about any James Brown will do.)
2. What’s Left of the Flag by Flogging Molly (Mix of tempos, very fun)
3. Hypnotize by System of a Down (about as heavy as I’ll go for headbanging–the littles love to sing “I’m just sitting in my car and waiting for my girl.”)
4. Boom Boom Pow by The Black Eyed Peas (ALL children love this song. It doesn’t matter what they usually listen to.)
5. Stomp by George Clinton and The Parliament Funkadelic (Prepare for some hazardous booty.)
6. Proud Mary by Tina Turner (You’ll burn more calories trying to keep up with this song than in 30 minutes on the treadmill.)
7. Whip It by Devo (One of the WORST songs ever written, but you will laugh and laugh while “whipping it”.)
8. Jump Around by House of Pain (Feel free to stop when someone passes out. And they will if you’re doing it properly.)
9. Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash (The kids and I go nuts when the tempo picks up.)
10. Bicycle Race by Queen (SO fun to sing along with.)
That’s just a sampling. Remember if you do a dance party to use a diversity of songs. It’s way more fun that way.
Oh yeah, and I’d better give honorable mention, even though I hate it, to I’m Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO. The kids really do love it, and if you let yourself get into it, you can’t help but get goofy and dance. Pelvic thrusts are not optional.
If you need a little help with your moves, here’s a dance lesson from the one and only James Brown. He’ll teach you moves like “the boogaloo”, “the funky chicken”, “soul train”, and “camel walk”. Good luck with that.
What songs do you like to dance to with your kids?