New York Times Can’t Get Over This Whole “Sober Dance Party” Thing


I mean, hey, listen, I don’t get it either. But is the Friday NYT Metro section piece “Ladies, Feel Free to Let Loose” — about a dance/workout class with a bunch of sober women freaking out to Wilson Phillips — really necessary? After all, they did write this piece in the Styles Section just a little while back. Like three weeks ago. I think we need a Styles Section/Metro Section DANCE-OFF!

Styles Section, three weeks ago, GO!

UPON entering a pitch-black church basement in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on a recent Tuesday night, all that could be heard were sneakers squeaking across the cement floor and Men at Work’s “Down Under” blaring from a pair of shoddy amplifiers. But as one’s eyes adjusted to the dark, a roomful of dancing bodies appeared. When Michael Jackson‘s “Smooth Criminal” kicked in, one could make out the silhouette of a young man as he grabbed his crotch and attempted to moonwalk.

Metro Section, today, GO!

IN a room no different from many rehearsal spaces — small, bare, un-air-conditioned — some 20 women dance as if no one is watching. The room, in the 440 Studios in the East Village, is rented by the hour and equipped with little more than an iPod dock, an (unused) upright piano in the corner and a plastic rotating disco ball lamp plugged into the wall. All the other lights are off, and the women are dancing together or by themselves, often goofily but rarely self-consciously, as the Ramones, Michael Jackson and, during the cooldown, Wilson Phillips’s “Hold On” play.

Just in case they were dancing too furiously for you to see, take note of the lighting (“pitch-black” and “all the other lights are off”), the music (“When Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ kicked in” and “as the Ramones, Michael Jackson and, during the cooldown, Wilson Phillips’s ‘Hold On’ play”), and the ridiculousness of untrained sober people dancing (“one could make out the silhouette of a young man as he grabbed his crotch and attempted to moonwalk” and “the women are dancing together or by themselves, often goofily”) at hand. Ah, but whereas the Metro Section today only focuses on one group of sober-dancing women:

This is Dance Dance Party Party, an unusual freestyle workout started by Glennis McMurray and Marcy Girt in 2006. There are three rules: “No boys, no booze, no judgment.”

The Styles Section gets ALL the Sober Dancers in, and even gets the Dance Dance Party Party parenthetical correct:

It is one example of the widening variety of freestyle sober dances in and around New York City. Other options include 5Rhythms, Open Floor, Barefoot Boogie, Biodanza and the women-only Dance Dance Party Party, whose motto is: “No boys. No booze. No judgment. (Legwarmers optional).

We’ve reached out to Times Metro editor Joe Sexton and Times Styles editor Stuart Emmerich for comment. Clearly, the politik answer is that the Metro section is only covering one specific subset of “sober dancers,” but the settings, references, and even language of the pieces are incredibly similar! Almost as if

(A) Metro writers don’t read the Styles Section,
(B) They don’t think readers of the New York Times read the Styles and the Metro sections (guess what: We are fucking crazy, and we do),
(C) They just thought that one piece on Sober Dancers/Wacky White People Shit wasn’t enough, OR
(D) The Styles section and Metro section are basically rival gangs.

In the event of A or B, don’t worry guys, it happens. Hell, I did it to Jen today, and we write for the same goddamn blog! If the answer is (C), well, let me assure you, one was more than enough, and if it’s (D), the obvious solution is, well, a Dance-Off. Preferably, not a sober one, either.