Workload, hectic schedules, deadlines, busy times…when it comes to life, we’re used to dancing to its tune! Now you can ‘dance walk’ your way into staying in great shape too.
Back in 2012, Emmy award-winning NBC reporter Ben Aaron introduced a workout routine called Dance Walking. It was an idea inspired during one of Aaron’s usual hilarious reports from the streets when he saw a man taking a rhythmic stroll as he cruised down 5th Avenue in New York City. Surprised yet intrigued, Aaron joined him for a minute in the dancing and then watched the man continue on his way – still ‘dance walking’.
Aaron realized that this was the right workout for him, combining his love for three things: interacting with people, seeing the city and dancing. Taking inspiration from what he saw, Aaron created an entire segment on dance walking in which New Yorkers danced down the sidewalks in the Big Apple with him. Thereafter, people around the world responded. Mass hysteria for dance walking swept across the globe, including in Canada (namely in Toronto, Vancouver and Whistler).
People have since started organizing dance walking events for reasons other than to workout in a fun way. Dance walking is also being utilized to raise funds for charities, bring attention to a cause, encourage physical activity in schools, celebrate occasions such as Mother’s Day, create urban interventions to break down barriers and more. Some have even begun to “choreograph” steps or have dance instructors lead snaking processions.
Interestingly enough, writing about dance walking was not part of my original plan when I sat down to write this blog. I had intended to write about dancing and drawing colliding together at their creative best with Dezza Dance at the Roundhouse (do check for their future sessions). Well, what can I say…that’s dance walking around the web for you, I suppose!
Speaking of which, here are a few interesting observations on Ben Aaron’s chance invention from around the web. For Core Wesley, there’s nothing new about dance walking other than it’s positive makeover from a channel of expression during the 80’s to a fun exercise alternative and a way of meeting people in the city, today. According to Wesley, in the late 80’s, dance walking acted as a defensive mechanism to ward off any “weirdos” harassing you. Ha!
- Have the guts to stand out and be ridiculed.
- Embrace early followers as equals. It’s the first followers who change others’ perceptions of you from a lone nut to a leader.
- Make sure the movement is public and showcases followers because new members emulate followers not the leader.
In this case, Ben Aaron’s dance walking movement would definitely serve as a better example than the shirtless dancing guy video clip that Sivers shows. The latter is a nice basis for analogy but is ineffective as it shows social conformity more than purposeful collective action.
Elsewhere, dance walking reminded Annie Hauser of a 35-year-old traveller and video game developer who had invited groups of locals to dance with him in various locales and produced the ‘Where the Hell is Matt?‘ video. Again, the idea that similar things have existed before but differently on a much smaller scale. And ideas can travel.
So without any further ado, rejoice that mobile “dance walking” party of yours with a smile and do let me know how it goes. What’s fun is that anyone can do this regardless of their gender, age and physical fitness level. Put on your favourite music, let the beat set your pace and don’t worry about what you look like; people might just join you! Dance Walk!
By Sonia Lotay, Roundhouse Blog Team. Sonia is an experienced media professional. She is über passionate about intercultural understanding, cultural marketing, arts and culture programming, grassroots initiatives and community development. Consider her a ninja with too many interests to hold.