Attention, ladies! Think back to the fifth grade. Chances are you were infatuated with boys, though they mostly were just annoyed by the opposite sex. You loved sneaking into the bathroom and trying on Mom’s makeup. And slumber parties were all the rage.
Before guests arrived, you practiced slow dancing in front of the mirror with your secret heartthrob. During the party, girls twisted and bumped to the beat of the bass. A single lava lamp provided just the right ambience.
You might think those days are long gone. But there’s a way to relieve your childhood.
Akron hosts a chapter of Dance, Dance, Party, Party (DDPP), a female-only program that encourages participants to dance just like they did when they were kids.
“I regularly channel the 10-year-old girl in me,” joked Joanna Wilson, an author who helps run the Akron chapter.
During a recent visit to the party, the windows were open to let in fresh air and the aroma of something scrumptious cooking at a nearby restaurant. The only light came from outdoor security lamps, a string of rope lighting and what filtered in from an open door to the hallway. Dancing in the dark, DDPP folks believe, allows women to feel less inhibited.
Wilson reminded the group that DDPP has three rules — “no boys, no booze and no judgment.”
The 14 gals, ranging in age from about late 20s to retirees, were encouraged to let their inner divas out. For an hour, they danced solo, sometimes roaming around the darkened room with their eyes partially closed.
Laura Maidens of Akron said DDPP, which meets on the first, third and fifth Fridays of the month at Martell School of Dance in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood, is a great way to decompress after a week’s work, allowing for a stress-free weekend.
“You don’t have to go to a bar … where people are hitting on you,” added Akron’s Debra DeGregorio.
The local chapter of DDPP was started four years ago by Juniper Sage, the co-owner of Square Records in Highland Square. She and a college pal used to chat about how much fun it would be to have a place where women could gather to “jump around like fifth-graders at a slumber party.” Later, the friend discovered such a group in Chicago and told Sage about DDPP.
Catherine Carrigan, who is one of the women who runs the Chicago chapter and keeps track of what’s happening at other DDPPs, said there are five active chapters in the U.S. and eight others internationally.
“I love that I’ve found a community of women who enjoy music and movement as much as I do,” Carrigan said. “We create a comfortable environment for women of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels to dance and let loose without the hassles a night at the club can bring. It’s cheap, it’s great exercise, I know no one’s judging my dance moves and I don’t have to wear high heels.”
While some chapters might make money, Sage said she opted not to profit from it. Participants pay $2 to dance, which goes toward renting the space at Martell’s.
To keep the music interesting and ever-changing, attendees are free to guest DJ by creating a custom playlist.
Anything and everything goes, from Broadway to hip-hop to ’80s hits. Ladies are encouraged not only to DJ but to give themselves killer DJ names; DJ Grrrlla Beats and Sassy Pants spin tunes in Akron.
While they may like different music genres, they agree on this much — DDPP might just be about as much fun as a gal can have without a guy.
Kim Hone-McMahan can be reached at 330-996-3742 or email@example.com.