So You Know You Can't Dance!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When you think of the all-time great dance partners, who comes to mind? Before Friday I would have given you a Top-5 that looked like this (you can vote in the poll on the right as well):

1. Will and Katee from So You Think You Can Dance?
2. Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers.
3. Napoleon Dynamite and Deb with her "puffy sleeves."
4. Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley on SNL.
5. Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat in the "Opposites Attract" video.

But the dancing universe was turned upside down on Friday, 8/22/2008, when the Normal Mormon Family hosted its first annual "So You Know You Can't Dance" party. We had four couples come over to our place and asked them to prepare a short dance routine in the spirit of the "So You Think You Can Dance?" television show. Each couple had a chance to strut their stuff and then be voted on to win candy-themed prizes like a box of Hot Tamales for the "hottest" dance of the evening. (I would have liked to have given away the Idaho Spud award for the most "Mormon-ish" dance, but they don't sell Idaho Spuds in North Carolina. Go figure.)

Throughout the course of the evening we were treated to dance routines that incorporated moves from the river dance, an ultra-cool number that used a baseball bat as a prop, and not one but two Napoleon Dynamite auditorium dance solos. When people started busting out the Napoleon solo, I was dying to be able to give out the Idaho Spud! Next year I'm going to ask somebody from out west to FedEx me a box of those delicious chocolate-covered potatoes. Mmmmm....Idaho Spud.... Anyway, our friends were phenomenal. It takes guts to put yourself out there like that. We have a great group of 20-to-30 somethings in our ward and had a very entertaining night together.

It was a blast choreographing and practicing the routine that the NMW and I busted out. I am just going to say this up front - I am not a dancer. In fact, my girlfriend in high school dumped me once because I refused to be her partner in a school dance recital. That's not quite as bad as when I broke up with my 9th grade girlfriend because I though she was avoiding me, only to later find out that she had gone to Disneyland with her family for the week. Ah, young love. Anyway, the NMW and I put together a minute-and-a-half number to C+C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now!" After several nights of rehearsing and accidentally smacking each other in the face, the final product rocked the house. It included:

Some lifts:

Some spins:

A leap:

And some break dancing, Electric Boogaloo-style:

We then ended the evening with the girls playing Sing Star on the PS2 while most of the guys went outside to play dunk ball on an 8 1/2 foot rim, followed by a few games of Lightening. We had a great time and lots of laughs on Friday. If you want to invite some friends over to your place and get a little jiggy, I highly recommend the "So You Know You Can't Dance" party.

Most of you have probably hosted or been to fun "couples" parties like this before and I thought this would be a good topic for discussion. Please post some comments to share other party themes or ideas that we could throw in the future. Hopefully some of you will have some low-impact party ideas that don't result in sore backs, pulled hammies, and/or broken coccyxs. But hey, sometimes you have to push the limits if you want to become legends.

Just ask Paula and MC Skat Kat.

Last Updated: 8/26/2008

-Carolyn: You asked what we did with the kids during the party. This was one of those parties where we just invited the kids to boogie down with us. Most of the couples we invited also have small kids (with two still in utero!) so we started at 6:30 p.m. and just let the kids play along with us. While it can be lame at times to have to break up fights between your seven and four year kids in the middle of a party, at least you're not paying a babysitter and glancing at your watch every fifteen minutes and thinking, "Okay, we're paying the Mia Maid from our ward six dollars an hour to watch our kids. That means if we stay another thirty minutes, we'll have to pay Missie Lou three more dollars. Is it worth it?" I was glad we let the kids hang out with us because our 4-year-old daughter danced an impromptu, spontaneous number to "If I Had A Million Dollars." It was really cute - and painful - watching her roll all over the hardwood floor.

-Brockett's and Katie McDermott: You both mentioned that you are from Preston, ID, where Napoleon Dynamite was filmed. Well guess what? One of the people who came to our dance-a-thon is also from Preston! He and his wife even danced the Napoleon auditorium solo. I'll ask him if he knows either of you. And I'm seriously taking you up on the Idaho Spud offer next year.

The whole "I'm from Preston!" claim has me a little suspicious. When I was a kid, all of the "cool" people said they were from 90210 or that they lived on Jump Street, even though they were really from Kearns, Magna or Parowan. After all, it made for a sweet pickup line at Stake Dances to tell a cute girl that you were from Beverly Hills...or at least that's what I was told. Ahem.

Nowadays all of the cool kids claim to be from Preston so that they can live off of Napoleon's reflected glory. Within the past three days I have now heard three people tell me they are from Preston. Since I am pretty sure that Preston's total population is 2 people, somebody has to be lying. I bet a lot of people from Cornish, Oxford, and Swanlake are stretching the truth a little bit and have been claiming Preston as their home ever since Napoleon hit it big. Am I alone in this? Or has anybody else suspected Preston liars lurking in our midst as well?

I visited Preston's official website to see how many people live there and the actual population is 4,791. The website ( is exactly as you would picture a small town homepage to be - complete with photos of Uncle Rico's van in the header! Check it out.


Emily said...

I want to be in your ward! That sounds like so much fun. All of our social get togethers tend to be be board game-themed. I just asked my husband if he would participate in a So You Know You Can't Dance party (I explained it the best I could), and he said, "Not in a million years." Boo. I figured, though. He's very shy when it comes to performing, or even shooting hoops in the driveway. He doesn't know that if we were invited to such a party, he wouldn't have a choice, because I would be SO excited.

11:20 PM
Emily said...

P.S. Looks like you've got some sweet moves.

11:21 PM
Rachel said...

Who are you, which stake are you in, and why am I not in your ward?! This is hilarious, and such a fun idea. I'd host a party myself, but I'm certain I wouldn't find any willing participants in my ward. Bummer.

I've been reading your blog since THIS POST, and have to say, you won me over immediately with your tribute to fry sauce and the grid system.

12:24 AM
Carolyn said...

It would have been great to have some real video action the dances!
You're all very brave putting yourselves out there like that! :-)

I must ask...what did you all do with your kids during this event! The more kids me and my hubby have the fewer social events we attend.

We actually really enjoy playing card games and board games. We also attended a How to Host a Murder Mystery party last year that was disco style. We all dressed up and boogied a bit too. Quite fun!
A really popular party game here in Ohio is Cornhole.
It's a back yard BBQ kind of game.

Hmm, looks likes me and my married ward friends need a change in our party down life style.

5:12 AM
Jenn said...

I thought we were getting crazy when we played dance, dance revolution together. Other favorites are guitar hero, or wii sports. What you've done requires much more willingness to look like an idiot. I wish I could be in your area too. The only other ideas I can think of for a party are dressing in costume. Like, "Come as you were in high school" Of course that might be more fun for your crowd 20 years from now.

7:00 AM
normal mormon wife said...

Our friends rock! Here are some of the creative parties we've participated in:

The Amazing Race New Year's Eve Bash

Bocce Tournament

Cinco de Mayo party complete with Mexican trivia and Pinata

Halloween Newlywed Game (Yes, Greg, I'm still bitter that we lost.)

It takes a little more planning and effort to pull off one of these, but so worth it.

11:39 AM
Brockett's said...

I can so hook you up with some Idaho Spuds next year! *Ü* Thanks for the entertaining blog.

6:17 PM
Brockett's said...

I forgot to mention I'm from Preston, Idaho so I could get you some sweet Napoleon stuff as well. Looks like you guys have got skills.

6:22 PM
Michelle said...

That sounds like a lot of fun! We have done Rockband parties, and every valentine's our bishop and his wife host a Newlywed Game party.

5:49 AM
Natalie said...

That leap is awesome! You are such a stud.

7:21 AM
Sandy said...

I don't have any good ideas...but I'm totally stealing some of yours!! Since we (and most of our friends) don't drink, the entertainment level in our town is a little low:)

9:33 AM
Cheryl said...

A great party is an Iron Chef themed one. Have everyone bring ingredients for a basic meal. The host provides the "secret ingredient". It's a lot of fun to see what people come up with. Plus the food for the evening is taken care of.
Also, have you checked out your local convience store candy selection? It's the only place I can find Big Hunks. They may carry Idaho Spuds. Just a thought.

10:43 AM

Okay so I totally love reading your blog, it's so entertaining! I wish I had friends willing to put themselves out there like that. You guys seem to have fun get to gethers.

12:12 PM
IamLoW said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 12:19 PM
IamLoW said...

My 14 year old daughter is pushing for a SYTYCD contest for Mutual. Think 12 and 13 year old boys will be game?? We shall see.

12:20 PM
Asenath said...

The screen shots are fantastic...but where's the video?? You can't tell me you had a party like this and didn't tape the evidence!! :)

7:41 PM
Mark LDS Music said...

In my distant and more perverse past, I used to go to the midnight movies with my friends and see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Then, I got my life more together, did the mission thang, and moved away.

While I didn't miss that particular movie, I did miss the craziness and the lunacy and the interaction with the movie.

So, one halloween, my wife and I were talking about having a party. I thought back and said to myself, why couldn't we do the same sort of thing with a more wholesome show?

So, for the next few years, we held "Wizard of Oz" parties. People dressed up as a character, and came over and we watched the show. We blew bubbles whenever Glenda, the Good witch showed up, and we shouted lines along. We had a "Scavenger hunt" to find details in the movie. Etc... Lots of fun!

8:40 PM
Katie McDermott said...

Brockett's who are you?? I'm from Preston, Idaho too!!!

2:34 PM
Amylouwho said...

I was in NC this weekend - I wish I had known - we would have crashed the party.

7:45 PM
Gretchen said...

Jenn kinda already mentioned something like this, but a few weeks ago a bunch of us who happened to have graduated from high school the same year got together with our spouses for a "I'm Not Going to My 10 Year High School Reunion" party. We had a mock reunion but kind of in reverse. Instead of catching up with people you used to know and telling them about what you're up to now, we took turns telling each other what we were like in high school, complete with photos and props. There was a contest for whoever dressed most appropriate for the era and a name that tune game. My husband wasn't very fond of the event, but I loved it! He really shouldn't complain - against all odds, he beat me at the music game!

8:38 AM
john said...

You know how SYTYCD has guest appearances? I think it would be hilarious if the show invited Napoleon Dynamite on as one of its featured performers.

7:41 PM
Paul & Jefrilyn said...

We like to have themed parties. My sister loves pirates (has for years and years) so each year for her birthday, we all dress-up like pirates and have a treasure hunt. One of my other sisters doesn't have a favorite, so we change it up each year, like this year was robot themed, last year was super-hero. My brother said he is so looking forward to his 16th birthday so he can get a date and come to our parties! We have fun! We also like the How To Host A Murder games. Sometimes we just get together and play games, too.

4:21 PM
Roxanne said...

Ok first off, let me clarify this, im from Canada so no worry for liers over here! lol
A So you think you cant dance party?! Thats an AWSOME idea!!! Im looking forward to do that sometime soon especially that the SYTYCD Canada started last week! Now i just have to find time between my 1 year house anniversary party, my 'F.r.i.e.n.d.s' weekend and the Halloween party of course!
I will definitly need to find a whole lot of alcool if i want this to work though...

7:56 AM