Dance Contest

On Saturday night I went to Brooklyn Bowl for Soul Clap, a soul music dance night/contest put on by New York Night Train and hosted by DJ Jonathan Toubin. While standing around waiting for the music to begin, a woman came up to me and started asking me what was going on, if there was going to be a DJ, etc. I explained to her and the guy she was with about the soul night and how I was planning on winning the contest.

We got to talking and I found out that they were from DC and were just up for the weekend. After chatting with them for a bit I looked for the coat check and upon seeing the line, immediately gave up. Upon returning to our corner of the dance floor, I put my coat on the ground. I noticed that workers were putting up what looked like a screen on the stage at the other end of the room. I didn’t know what it was for but moved to that end to investigate.

Additionally, I wanted to know how, where, and when I could get my number for the dance contest. Eventually, I saw on one of the permanent screens on the wall -where they had been projecting information about upcoming events- that they were projecting information about the contest. The screen said to get a number at the merch booth, so that is where I went.

DancersSilhouetteDancers stood behind the screen and were backlit to form silhouettes of them dancing.

Upon getting there, the booth was closed. I hovered around it for a while, and asked passers by what they knew. Eventually, the guy hanging out outside it told us he was running it and that they were just counting the money from the show that was on before this. Once they were done he would go in and give us our numbers. Shortly after he said that, that is exactly what happened.

In spite of the fact that I was first in line, this girl cut in front of me and got the first number. It didn’t matter as they weren’t in an order and it wasn’t going to effect how they judged your dancing, but I wanted the first number and I wanted number 1. As it turned out I got the second number and it was #23. The person who gave me my number helped pin it to the back of my shirt. After that I made my way to the dance floor.

By the time I got back to the dance floor, the music had already started. I could now see that the screen was being used to project silhouettes of professional dancers that were dancing behind it on stage. I wasn’t sure if the contest had already started, so I decided to really get into it. It wasn’t until about an hour later that they took the screen down, stopped the music, put the lights on and explained that the contest was starting.

RandyJonesRandy Jones -the original Cowboy from The Village People- was one of the judges of the dance contest. The other guy is DJ Jonathan Toubin.

Jonathan introduced the judges, including Randy Jones, the original Cowboy from The Village People, and then they described how it was gonna go down. There would be three elimination rounds, one song for each round. You had to dance your ass off and the judges would walk around the crowd while you were dancing. If they tapped you and handed you a card you were allowed to get on stage and dance. After the three rounds were over they were going to have a few more elimination rounds to weed out the finalists until it was whittled down to the last three.

The second the music started, it felt like the Rydell High dance-off; how everyone flocks to the cameras. I just tried to do my thing and not be to sucked in by the fact that I was competing. This was clearly not what the judges were looking for. It seemed they were only into weird clothes and jumping craziness as opposed to actually good dancing.

After not being picked in any of the rounds, I thought all hope was lost. Then, during the first on-stage elimination round I made a last ditch effort, going all out to see if they’d spot me in the crowd. Alas, they did not. As misfortune would have it, one of the people in the final three was that girl who had cut me in line to get her number first. Fed up, I didn’t have to patience or interest to wait and see who won, so I made my way back to the subway.

—Afterward

While waiting on the platform, I struggled to get the number off my back. After eventually getting the number off, I was approached by a woman. “Hey number 23,” she said, “how’d you do?” I explained what went down and she and the guy she was with told me that they were also at Brooklyn Bowl and had watched the contest but didn’t participate. They were both a little drunk but very nice and interested in what I had to say.

If memory serves, their names were Tara and Glenn. Tara was comparing her pants to mine, “Look at how similar our pants are.” She then asked me to do some dance moves for her, so I did. They told me to just keep doing what I was doing. Even though it came from a place of “drunk wisdom,” I was still appreciative of what they had to say and it was a nice consolation prize.

Sidenote: there was a hired photographer taking pictures from the stage during the event. I know, based on the flashes proximity to me, that I was definitely in some of the photos. Unfortunately, I have no idea where they were posted to.

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