I grew up watching movies. Movies of older generations mostly; and, because I was the youngest and outnumbered by a house of men, they tended to be of the action or superhero variety. I managed not to rememember most of those plotlines. Instead, I discovered the incredibly misleading category of romantic comedies. I think the work in the earlier movies erred more on the side of romance than comedy, and now, with current releases, the opposite is true. But after years of diligent study, I can firmly attest that romantic comedies usually incorporate one certain kind of pivotal scene.
For me, it started with Cinderella. She goes to the ball, dressed to dazzle by a fairy godmother, and loses a shoe but gains the prospect of a prince. And movies I saw following that had the same premise that involved either hope, expectation or insurmountable loss when it came to dances.
Can you think of a romantic comedy that doesn’t involve a dance scene? The dance scene is like the pinnacle of the movie. Free flowing libations, nicely-dressed people and a cloud of darkness punctuated by the ever-flashing strobe light leading to an unexpected end. The heroine wears a dress that makes you think she is at least 50 percent more attractive, but with mascara on.
At TigerFest, I relived my highschool dance experiences, but with alcohol for purchase. Our chariot awaited in the form of a luxury chartered bus, complete with driver. The wristbands, complimentary chocolate bars and faculty members doubling as chaperones took me back to a younger version of myself. The venue had character and twinkling lights that lined the ceiling. This was unfamiliar territory, since my high school usually rented out hotel convention rooms and just removed the tables. Actually, I don’t remember much about my high school dance settings, besides for the half-decent DJ and the one or two slow songs that cued single people to run off in different directions. During my senior prom, someone pulled the fire alarm and we had to leave the premise for 20 minutes of our allocated three-hour slot. It was magical.
Dances, historically, have been as much about boys and girls as they’ve been about the dancing. Everyone is looking at or around each other, or trying to figure out where someone else is. I’m never entirely sure where to look, and often enough my eyes land on a friend dancing across from me. People seem to also have a strange tendency to congregate in circles and face inwardly, for protection purposes I guess. It’s this massive party that is really controlled by the music being played. The social structure at these events is framed by people milling around, trying to dance as much as they feel comfortable while also hoping that others aren’t watching. Which honestly was not the case this year, because the venue was two stories tall “” anyone could lean over the banister and point and critique from above. And it is fun to watch other people dance.
I think the whole construct of a dance is pretty strange. People moving in a dark room. Without the darkness, no one would feel comfortable dancing, and without the music, no one would dance. And despite the inkling that your cover might be blown and news gets out that this whole “feel the beat” business isn’t for you, the setting of a dance is infectious. It’s lively and fun and little uncomfortable which makes the whole situation all the more better. There’s just a large crowd of people, swaying, singing the same song. This year was by far the best TigerFest I’ve attended, as it was the only TigerFest I’ve attended, but it takes the cake.
Opinion Columnist | Class of 2017 | Majors: Art and Communication