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Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

I Could Have Danced All Night

From the very SECOND I turned 14 I LOVED youth dances. I remember with painful clarity how much time I took getting ready for my first dance. I was ready SO EARLY for the dance, that I made my mother take me along shopping with her before she dropped me off at the dance I was so nervous. Being the last one in my group of friend to turn 14, I was thrilled to know that they would all be there and able to fill me in on what was cool and not so cool at the youth dances.

The following is some of my favorite dance memories. These are meaningless little tidbits, but to me, they were the greatest events of my adolecence.

* The first "dance" I truly attended was a ward "manners night" where we learned all things that were appropriate for us to do. We were dressed to impress, so at 13, you KNOW I was looking good. The thing I remember most was THE dorkiest boy in our ward asking me to dance on a fast song (WHAT? A FAST SONG? I KNOW!)and I said, "One second." Went over to JP and said, "WHAT DO I DO? I don't WANT to dance with him!" JP reminded me that you should say yes, even if you don't WANT to dance with them. So, I went back, with pain in my voice agreed to dance with him and really just ended up standing there staring at him as he gyrated. It was frightening.

* My first "offical" dance was marked with sadness that 1) no one asked me to dance (tear) and 2) I thought the way the kids DID dance was utterly RETARDED. I KNEW what real dancing looked like at that was NOT it. I think it was the first time I thought, "Stupid Mormons!" in my head. I've been saying it in my head ever since. You will know I've gone over the edge when I start saying it out loud.

* When I was 15 I became fast friends with the CUTEST BOY I HAD EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE whose name was Aaron. We only saw each other at dances, and he ALWAYS asked me to dance and told me how wonderful I was. Did I mention he was DROP DEAD GORGEOUS? I seriously thought he was put up to it by his freinds, some cruel joke or dare. But, no! That was not the case! He thought I was funny and charming, and danced with me at every single dance for years. To this day I hold a soft spot in my heart for that boy. (sigh)

* Sometime in my seventeenth year, we had a rash of Theme dances. My favorite of these was the "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up" Dance. Essentially, you were supposed to dress in style of what profession you wanted to be someday. So, I went in my pajama's and slippers that looked like gorillia faces (foot inserted into mouth) with a handmade sign on my back that said, "Pulitzer Prize Winner." I can't tell you how many DOZENS of stupid Mormon's came up to me and asked, "Um... what's the Puliter Prize?" Seriously... IDIOTS! But really, it was just an excuse to wear my pajama's... I'll do anything for comfort.

* The weekend afer Kurt Cobain died, there was a casual youth dance. There was a FLOOD of Nirvana t-shirts and people requesting their rather undanceable (and mildly church house inappropriate) tunes. Once again, the thoughts of, "WHATEVER YOU POSERS!" Screamed through my head. I mean, how grunge can a 15 year old Mormon kid actually be?

* To this day, whenever I hear ANY song by Erasure or Ace of Base, the song "Somebody" by Depech Mode, "Love Shack" by The B-52's and the LONG version of Bryan Adam's "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" I am transported back to the Saturday night dances of my youth. Those moments of wondering if someone, ANYONE, was going to ask me to dance, of laughing at my friends, at the way we felt in that moment, and feeling like maybe this WAS fun after all.

There was something kind of magical about youth dances for me. The magic, sadly, did not continue onto Young Single Adult dances, but I think A LOT of that had to do with the fact that toward the end of my singleness, I was getting baby announcements from people I had babysat and really, there is SUCH a level of desperation at YSA dances that it taints the whole evening. There wasn't any of that at a youth dance because you weren't (or really SHOULDN'T have been) worrying about getting married, and ticking biological clocks. It was a time of innocence, of bad hair, too much make up and learning how to be YOU. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

I love that I forced you to dance with that boy...but even more so that you actually told him to hold on while you asked me what you should do.

It was a nice thing to dance with that boy, Sarah...that puts something on the good list, no? ;)

See, now I disagree. I LOVED YSA dances. For a while we had AWESOME DJs, and the YSA dances in my area were so rocking, I can't even tell you. Three hours of non-stop dancing, they barely ever put slow songs on, it was just all about shakin' it. LOVED IT. Out to dinner/breakfast afterwards, multiple opportunities to flirt. Good times.

We had a New Year's Eve YSA dance in Virginia one year. It was supposed to be the huge DC Area YSA dance. Anyway, I went to the kitchen to help out (I was on the Institute Council but I hadn't helped plan the dance) and on the stove I see a HUGE vat of chili. It is entirely inappropriate to put in writing the thoughts going through my head about what the dance floor would smell like after that chili was eaten. And they were trying to marry us off?

I grew up in the early 90's and going to LDS church Dances were the BEST thing a youth guy could have done, I never went to High School parties where Alcohol was served, instead I made many memories from attending Church dances, I grew up in Southern California where I was blessed to have had a church dance every weekend. One weekend it would be Laguna Niguel Stake, the next Irvine Stake, Mission Viejo Stake & Newport Beach Stake. I was able to dance almost all of the songs that were being played when I wasn't getting girls phone numbers or catching a breath. I enjoyed the Fast Songs like, "Girl you really got me now you got so I don't know what Im doing" or "Love Shack" to "Twist and Shout". I loved "The Lady in Red" and "Stairway to Heaven" as it was a 7+ minute song, and if you were dancing with someone you clicked with it either was the best 7+ minutes of your life or the longest 7+ minutes! I am so glad the church had youth dances when I was a youth. I am grateful for every opportunity to have met so many neat people and get reacquainted with old friends and girlfriends....I wish every youth in the church has the same opportunity I have had. Its where I was supposed to be and I really made it worth my time...as I couldn't get through those cultural hall doors quick enough but I knew the night would come to an end eventually...I yearned for them every Saturday Night that I had a list of girls that I wanted to see there everytime...so I called them up to say, "There's another dance on Saturday, Are you going?"
I could usually get a good turnout from just my calls,
The Church of Jesus Christ is a True Church, I know it to be True without a shadow of Doubt. I am grateful for the Leaders that kept the Hooligans out of the Dances but let in those that wanted to have Fun....may you always find FUN in attending a YOUTH LDS DANCE!

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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