Dancing through quarantine

Zoom dance parties


As we crest the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world are starting to crave that going-out feeling again. Those of us not attending illegal raves have begun to do something a bit different— Zoom dance parties. It’s something that, at the beginning of the pandemic, many would have passed off as ridiculous.  

Despite the hesitation from many, there are some perks to a virtual dance party. It’s calmer and less performative than the real thing. You can put on a fancy strobe light or colored LEDs and pull your going-out clothes from the depths of your closet, or you can show up still in your pajamas and a messy bun. Some people join multi-tasking, doing dishes or hang- ing out with kids. When I joined in for the first time, I was in the middle of making cookies.  

 Anette Jackson, a teacher from Corvallis, was the host of this online dance party I attended. She began a Friday-night zoom party to connect to her ex-pat friends. Jackson was inspired by a socially-distant silent disco she attended at the beginning of the pandemic. People joined in from around the world: Thailand, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Mexico. One of her friends from Spain was so intent on attending that she set her alarm for 5:30 in the morning just to get up, dance, and roll back into bed.  

I joined in on the zoom dance party with a sense of uncertainty and ended it with a smile. According to Jackson, my story is not uncommon. People see zoom dance parties as pointedly uncool until they try it out for themselves and want to keep coming back. The idea of a zoom homecoming or prom is still up in the air, but if leadership does go with a virtual dance party, you might just want to give it a chance.