Once upon a time there was a thing called a dance and people, old and young, used to go and they would put their arms around each other and move around a wide place called a dance floor in time to music.
And they were called dancers. The music was played by six or ten or sometimes even 15 people and they had names like “The Musical Peppers” or “Clouds of Joy” or maybe even something simple like Benny Goodman and His Orchestra.
Were Dance Bands
These were well known as dance bands and (if you’ve followed this far) the played tunes that you could hum, or whistle or perhaps sing and these tunes had names like “Stars Fell on Alabama” or “temptation” or “As Time Goes By” or “Moonglow” and so on.
After spending two hours listening to a quintet which calls itself “The Vulcans” and watching and talking to some of the teen-agers who turned out to see them, I’m convinced some sort of spell has been at work.
Dancers, dance bands, and dance music have changed –but whether it’s the work of a wicked witch or a fairy godmother depends entirely on your point of view.
You may not like the way the Vulcans sound with their amplified guitars and relentless eight-to-the-bar drums—but the ears of Wednesday night’s dancers in the Hart-Albin parking garage might have been equally assaulted with a six-man brass section or the sound of a soprano sax you remember.
It’s hard, too, to imagine a high school girl “Listen, they’re playing OUR song” when a dance set includes such titles as “Stick Shift”, “Mashed Potatoes” and “Body Whompin’”—but how can you be certain these kids would rave over the moon-June-soon-spoon offerings of yesterday, even if they heard them?
The watchers at teen-age dances outnumber dancers nearly 50 to 1—with good reason.
There is considerable of interest going on.
But the person who looks upon the twisting, the head-bobbing, the bouncing, the spinning, the shuffling, and the toe-tapping as scarcely the way to behave at a dance has forgotten, apparently, the era of the Big Apple, truckin’, peckin’, an import called the Lambeth Walk and a more than transient frenzy called jitter-bugging.
Went Home Tired
The point to remember is that five college students in red coats kept 2,000 teen-agers happy for three hours and sent them home tired—with no other comment from grown-ups standing around except that they were a well-behaved bunch of kids—no matter how raucous their music sounded, no matter how strange their dancing appeared.
It sort of takes the wind out of the sails of those who argue that whenever you get two or more teen-agers together, trouble starts.