Shake Your Groove Thang At Dance Dance Party Party

A couple of years ago when I was new to New York and looking for a fun way to shed some of the pounds I’d gained after indulging in some of the city’s thousands of delicious restaurants, I decided to take a friend’s recommendation and give Dance Dance Party Party a try. “It’s a big dork fest,” she said to me, “You’ll love it.” For those who have never heard of DDPP, the name basically says it all. It’s a dance party. But not the kind of dance party you might enjoy in a crowded club on a Saturday night. No, this is more like a dance party you might have with a group of girlfriends in one of your living rooms on a Sunday afternoon after a mimosa-fueled brunch. At DDPP — which has franchises in cities across the States, Canada, and even New Zealand — women (sorry, no boys) — gather in “a dance studio or other room with the lights turned low” for 90 minutes of freestyle shakin’ their groove thang. Each week, a different participant is a guest DJ, whipping up a playlist full of anything from Broadway show tunes to hip-hop and ’80s hits. It’s a sweaty good time and I quickly discovered it beats the hell out of doing lunges and sit-ups at the gym.Before I arrived to my first DDPP, I wasn’t sure how I’d enjoy bouncing around for an hour and a half to music I didn’t select with a bunch of girls I’d never met. Being a dork in front of my friends is one thing, but being a dork in front of people who don’t know me at all? Well, as it turns out, it comes pretty naturally. In fact, it wasn’t even the dancing around to tunes like the “Ghostbusters” theme song that embarrassed me the most — although, admittedly, that was a little awkward — it was asking for directions to the studio once I got inside the building. Seriously, if you want to feel like a dork — and who doesn’t? — just ask the nearest stranger where the “Dance Dance Party Party” is.

Though, once I found the right room, it was all good. My nerves were calmed as soon as saw that, unlike a class at a yoga studio or swanky gym, everyone was pretty much dressed for a good time. There were knee-high tube socks, sequin tops, and more than a handful of pigtails. Someone was even sporting a mini cape, though I’m not convinced she didn’t get lost on the way to Comic-Con. At any rate, once the plastic disco ball got turning, she and everyone else dove right in, bouncing about, improvising dance moves, doing old cheer routines, and sweating their asses off. The best part was about the whole thing was about midway through the session when “Birdhouse in Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants came on and the whole group of us was suddenly swept into a mass frenzy, like we were all re-living our college glory days when a house party, a catchy song and a couple of Zimas were all a girl needed to have some fun (well, and a few cute boys, too, let’s be honest). There just was something about dancing in the dark to old-school favorites (and some new songs, too) that broke any barriers I might have carried in with me. I didn’t know anyone’s name; I might not recognize them on the subway later (except for cape girl), but in that room, for that hour and a half, these were girls and we were having a blast.

The next day I was SORE. Like in places I haven’t ever been sore. Walking down a flight of stairs was practically impossible, as was washing the dishes and emptying the litter box (at least, that’s what I told my husband). All that dancing around had been one of the best workouts I’d ever had, and at $6 (now $8 in advance, $10 at the door), it was one of the cheapest, too. If you’re looking for a fun way to supplement your exercise regimen, or if you’re in the market for a unique way to jump-start your latent fitness program, try out Dance Dance Party Party. Just make sure you’re OK saying the name of the class out loud if you have to ask for directions.

The “Love Your Body” section and all articles within it are sponsored by Crystal Light; however, the articles are all independently produced by The Frisky and the opinions and views expressed by the writers and experts are their own.

Photo: Dance Dance Party Party