On Dec. 26, a stone-cold Monday night that could have been Christmas’ bleak antithesis, I was rocking neon pink oversized sunglasses and a courage wolf tee amidst a mass of downtown Seattle’s hippest residents. I met a fairy, a gorilla, a Power Ranger and five new friends. And in four frozen hours, we made history.
Whether I chalk it up to chance or chronic Facebook addiction, I consider myself and my party peers incredibly fortunate to have received an invitation to the Decentralized Dance Party, or DDP, in time for its inaugural night in the United States. The DDP is a brainchild of two nice young men known only by their first names, Tom and Gary, from Vancouver, BC, one DJ-ing and the other wearing a large top hat. Unlike most things Canadian, however (the first things that come to mind are Justin Bieber and syrup) the DDP rocks. It is a portable fiesta composed of the two emcees, 10 supervisors dressed as bananas and a mass of eager disciples. Several dozen ancient boom boxes are tuned to an FM transmitter in Gary’s backpack and distributed among those willing. The result is a multi-outlet sound system that can be moved from one open area to another with relative ease by the dancers themselves.
I admit that I was skeptical at first. I was concerned for the turnout, it being a freezing cold Monday night, and my friends and I worried a bit over the party’s theme, “Strictly Business,” when it was obviously anything but. However, I failed to take into account the simple fact that Seattle is the best city in the United States. This totally unbiased belief was reaffirmed by both Tom and Gary’s choice to hold the first ever American DDP here and by the night itself. Despite the inevitable onslaught of rain, we Seattleites stayed true to the spirit of the DDP. I couldn’t help but indulge in my most outrageous dance moves as my pals and I boogied from 5th and Denny to the top of a parking garage, back down again to the McCaw Performance Hall and past the Space Needle. And boy, did the music range – from Queen to the Beastie Boys, from Journey to the Lemur King’s song from the movie Madagascar. Though most of my fellow dancers were just as atrociously awkward as I was, there were a few shining exceptions to the rule. At each location, in fact, spontaneous dance circles would form and these badass exceptions would demonstrate their own unique styles of the art of motion. One girl combined graceful, hippie-inspired arm and hand movements with hip-hop pop-and-locking, and several B-Boys danced themselves into a frenzied battle that was perhaps as fun to watch as it must’ve been to participate in.
Of course, the night wasn’t without its snags. When I asked Gary to play Skrillex, he politely refused. I enjoyed the more house-heavy substitutes, such as Justice and Daft Punk, for which he opted in lieu of the Dubstep King. Still, I would’ve enjoyed a sicker drop or two, and at times the nice-‘n’-foamy pop/house vibe wasn’t doing it for me, especially when my hands started to smart from the near-freezing temperatures. Additionally, the party lasted from 8p.m. to midnight. That’s a lot of dancing outside in 40-degree rain. However, my complaints were negligible, and ultimately disappeared in the grand scheme of things. On the whole my night with the DDP was on par with that of every dancer there – unforgettable, indescribable through pictures and words, the true essence of the evening captured in the FM waves connecting every person through the pulse of semi-crappy dance music. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.