Dancing to 80's music... is there a trick to it?
June 13, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

My fiancee and I are getting married in a month. I LOVE 80's music and want to hear a lot of it at the reception. I am not a dance-a-holic by any stretch of the imagination. So I come to ask the hivemind: How do you dance to awesome 80's songs?

Admittedly, many of my favorite songs fall between what I would call "slow dancing" and "jump around dancing", so are there any specific steps or regular dancers on here that can point to sources online or in movies that I could check out? Bonus points for visuals, since I don't know how to dance myself and technical dance terms will be lost on me.

Some of the songs I'd like to include are:

~Don't Stop Believin'
~Private Eyes
~Nights on Broadway
~Come on Eileen
~Love is a Battlefield
~Don't You (Forget About Me)
~Here I Go Again
~High Enough
~You're the Best
~We Didn't Start the Fire
~Hungry Like the Wolf
posted by Yzerfan to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Just....dance. There are no specific "steps" to follow. 99% of the people at the wedding will be donig the same kind of dancing themselves, so unless you walk directly on everyone's feet, they may not notice or care what you do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

What's wrong with jump-around-dancing?
Also, may I heartily recommend "In a Big Country" :D
posted by Glinn at 9:18 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Flail around wildly while singing along.
posted by Mavri at 9:21 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Well, Maniac was in Flashdance, so maybe watching 80s dance movies would help? Footloose, Dirty Dancing, etc.? Okay, so you probably can't get chairs and buckets of water set up as props, but maybe you'd get some inspiration at least.
posted by sigmagalator at 9:23 AM on June 13, 2011

Let Courtney Cox teach you how to dance 80s style.
posted by cazoo at 9:23 AM on June 13, 2011

Best answer: The Carlton. Put a bow in his hair and change the music to Wham! and he becomes me and all my friends from 1983-85.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:26 AM on June 13, 2011

Flail around wildly

Video example
posted by burnmp3s at 9:26 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're overthinking it, but if you insist on having something already worked out ahead of time you might as well sit down with a stack of John Hughes DVDs for research. Really, just kind of bouncing around would be the most authentic.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:26 AM on June 13, 2011

Flailing is definitely what's called for.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:27 AM on June 13, 2011

Best answer: See also, Breakfast Club dance scene. Lots of kicking in place.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:29 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

How do you dance to awesome 80's songs?

Same way I did then. Poorly, but enthusiastically.
posted by mhoye at 9:32 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

My suggestion - have your own little dance party and figure out how you dance to eighties music. If you're comfortable dancing in the first place, you'll be able to adapt to almost anything that doesn't have a very set style with a lot of formal steps. When I go out dancing I don't dance especially differently to eighties music than I dance to whatever the kids like these days - and one of the kids even complimented me on my dancing abilities recently, although I think that was more along the lines of the-amazing-thing-about-a-talking-dog. But I don't embarrass myself or draw unwanted attention.

Those are all a little slower than what I really think of as eighties dance music, though. ( When I think of really dancey eighties pop (as opposed to actual dance tracks) I think of something more like Talking Heads' Born Under Punches.)
posted by Frowner at 9:46 AM on June 13, 2011

Listen to the internet radio station "A Flock of Eighties" - non stop eighties tunes. If you have an internet radio, it will tell you the name of the track and the artist as you listen.

For dancing, I would suggest watching the video to Dancing on the Ceiling. Excepting the fact you can't, in fact, dance upside down like Sir Lionel, the unembarrassed hip wiggling is a site to behold.

Also: don't forget to either smile away or pout like your life depends on it. Nothing in between. This is almost as crucial as having shoulder pads.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:11 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Since the mainstreaming of hiphop, we dance a lot now with the weight situated low on the body. The booty and the grind, gettling low with the funk in the spine.

80s dancing has none of that! No booty! No grind! It's all limbs and kicks and shoulders and arm waving and walkin like an Egyptian and bouncing up up up. Let Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun be your guide. Other posters are right - enthusiasm is the technique.
posted by sestaaak at 11:05 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

im SO MAD that i got beat to the carlton (another variation)
posted by chasles at 11:09 AM on June 13, 2011

As I remember it, he #2 seat clearing song was Burning Down the House by Talking Heads. (behind GJWTHF). Wedding receptions were (and remain) a total dance free-for-all.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:30 AM on June 13, 2011

Seconding the breakfast club dance moves. When the 80s music comes on I'm dancing like Molly Ringwald. It is the only dance move I know.
posted by ephemerista at 11:36 AM on June 13, 2011

Seconding the breakfast club dance moves. When the 80s music comes on I'm dancing like Molly Ringwald. It is the only dance move I know.

I break out the occasional Ally Sheedy, which is also a hit.
posted by Lucinda at 11:48 AM on June 13, 2011

Yeah, Breakfast Club simplified. Hop-skip your feet out like Ringwald did in those tall brown boots (almost like ska's "skanking"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7_PHBWXtMw&feature=related.) For me, it's the natural dance my legs want to do during the breakdown of "Come On Eileen." Alternately, stand on tiptoes with feet shoulder-width apart and kick one ankle towards the middle in at a time, then out, then the other, then repeat. Man, this would be better if you were standing in front of me.
posted by juniper at 2:31 PM on June 13, 2011

The last dance I referenced could be called the Belinda Carlisle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpJZVfeRK1c Now I want to go to your wedding, badly.
posted by juniper at 2:35 PM on June 13, 2011

Don't forget the "My Sharona" scene from Reality Bites. Also, do "Wake me Up Before Yo Go-Go"

Also, try punching in "198[X] American Bandstand" into your youtube search. Watching that was painful for those of us who lived through it.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:31 PM on June 14, 2011

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