When Swingtime’s Strictly Come Dancing weeks are at Club La Santa, the participants dance everything from traditional waltz to a sexy salsa. The main focus is couples but tonight I’m joining the open class Can’t stop the feeling where everybody is invited to get ‘Justin Timberlake’ funky – by themselves.
By Nikita Rørholt
As if Celine Dion didn’t make it clear enough with All by myself last night at the salad bar, today I’m going to join one of Elisabeth Dalsgaard’s dance classes - all by myself. I already feel self-conscious, picturing 25 older couples and me dancing to Justin Timberlake’s Can’t stop the feeling, whatever that feeling is supposed to be. Right now I can’t stop the feeling of being exposed and there is only one thing to do in that kind of situation. I’ve forced my friend with severe back problems to join me even though she can hardly move. In my darkest moments during the next hour I can look to my right and see her move around like an astronaut on the moon and feel a bit better about myself.
I remember the first time I heard Can’t stop the feeling and, even more, that it wasn’t a favorite of mine. It’s the kind of song that stresses out my whole inner system with a course that repeats itself more times than Donald Trump says “wrong” during a debate and will stick in people’s heads forever and ever: “Wrong, wrong, wrong.” And yes, I've caught myself happily singing the song several times. I'm only human.
A bad friend with a yogurt trauma
I’ve looked forward to the dance class for a long time but today I feel kind of sick. On top of that I was just informed that what I thought was a healthy yogurt I’ve been stuffing my face with ever since I came here a month ago has more sugar in it than a Coca-Cola. I feel betrayed by my own distracted self and in my enlightening of why it tasted so amazing I’m late to class.
It’s 6 pm, cold and windy. Leaving behind my limping friend I run across the stage with my pink out washed hoody, long pants, a jacket and a scarf covering my whole face. I see her wobbling down to the stage all by herself and feel a bit bad for making her come, but not enough to let her skip. Meanwhile, Elisabeth is already moving around on the podium like she has eaten 15 of the deceiving yogurts. She introduces the song that rhymes withant caught while dealingand inform us that it’s the exact same dance Justin Timberlake performed with at the last Oscars, and by the end of the class we all will be able to do it. I already feel like I’ve let her down.
Lesson learned by an orange finger
Elisabeth has a way of making everybody comfortable right from the start with her silly and positive attitude, and she is sincerely happy that each and one of us has shown up. With still no idea what kind of dance it is or how to survive it Elisabeth starts the music and hip hop starts playing. I fall straight back to my hip hop dance years and my body immediately starts to move. Overwhelmed by how far my imagination was from the truth, all I see is Trump pointing at me with his thick orange finger saying: Wrong!
Elisabeth starts clapping to get people in step and shows the first moves. She has divided the dance into four sections (thank God) so it shouldn’t be a problem for us to learn (oh God). I look at the couples around me thinking they all will get through this a lot smoother than me and my scarf. I look over at my friend who is still busy with the moon landing. In the meantime, Elisabeth is loosening people up by throwing her hoody over her head, squatting down to the beat while throwing hand signs around. “Are you ready to get funky!?”
Vultures looking for the dead disco finger
It’s time for the warm up and I’m in an amazing mood. I'm jumping up and down trying to look as street as possible while imagining every rapper shaking their head in disapproval - but we’re having a blast. Elisabeth keeps joking around and do funny moves while cheering the rest of us on as we’re trying our hardest to look less like a bunch of pale Danes and find the tiny amount of movement we've all left behind years ago. I’m in something that’s supposed to look like electric boogie but I feel more like a vulture looking for something dead. I look around and see 50 other vultures on the hunt for the same as me – the rhythm.
Everybody is struggling a bit with a stiff this and that. Elisabeth makes two humps with her hips coordinated with a John Travolta disco finger and everybody bursts out laughing and I’m thinking they can’t possibly have made Justin Timberlake do that. After feeling like a dog humping the air one too many times we’re in slow motion followed by a free style. I’m surprised by how willing people are to look extremely funny in front of strangers, but by acting crazy enough herself Elisabeth can make us do anything.
Snow White and the seven Disco Dwarfs
“Alright, now the men will perform for the ladies.” The talking stops, the seven men freeze and look around trying to figure out if Elisabeth is being serious. The women chuckle more nervously like they're all thinking “We’ll be next.” The men accept their faith and line up behind Elisabeth, and it’s like watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs again, all of them different from one another with all eyes on Elisabeth. “I wouldn’t tell you to do it, if you weren’t good,” she explains and the women cheer the men on through four minutes of air humping, out of step robot moves, disco fingers and, most of all, bravery.
The time has come. It’s the women’s turn and my friend and I are doing the best we can to hide in the back - a difficult task since everybody else is thinking the same. I decide that it looks more stupid to do it half so I go all in. With Elisabeth out of my sight I'm at least two steps behind everybody else, in a constant transition to a new move I never get to complete. All of the sudden the class is over and everybody is clapping, strangers are high-fiving, talking and joking around. There is something about powering through as a team which is quite life-affirming and liberating, and I want to do it all over again. It’s like I just can’t stop the feeling.