Sometimes a girl just needs to dance. Sometimes, I’m that girl.
The problem is, for all the great things the Berkshires offers, dance halls and night clubs aren’t one of them. A few times a year I get to attend an IS-183 Gala, a Berkshire Bateria show or a NAMA Prom, but in between those events, I find that dancing in my living room with my dogs just doesn’t cut it.
So when I found out that my friend Mariclaire had started organizing pop-up dance parties with my favorite DJ BFG, aka Gabriel Squalia, I was stoked.
The idea behind these parties is once a month random locations will host a four-hour dance party. Party goers give $5 to cover some operation costs and in return people will be able to shake their money makers.
These parties are for everyone, but you have to be in-the-know to know they are happening. There is very little advertising beforehand, usually only a Facebook event that starts to circulate a few weeks before the party. But the "Pop Up Party" has no real Facebook page you can "follow." Most people who attend find out via old-fashioned word of mouth.
As a Berkshire party thrower myself, this concept is completely foreign. Usually in these cases, all you do is promote and try and get as much exposure for your event as possible. I love the idea of a semi-secretive party that takes little work to actually throw and promote.
When 10 p.m. rolled up this past Saturday, I was racing through the door at Allium restaurant in Great Barrington. I wasn’t sure if a lot of people would be there, but I just didn’t want to be fashionably late -- we only had four hours to boogie down.
My concerns were quickly abandoned as I scanned the narrow restaurant and bar and saw it was swarming with people already ordering drinks, talking and further down a large group of people were already dancing. Mr. W shoved some cash in the donation jar and in true party fashion we headed straight for the bar. If there’s one thing I know about Allium, its bartenders make a fantastic drink.
I had to keep reminding myself how fantastic those drinks are, because there was only one bartender on. And though the bartender moved at superhero speed, it was a good six-to-eight minutes before we were served. Finally, with few drinks in hand, I looked at Mr. W and said "let’s go get our swerve on!"
He rolled his eyes, smiled and gently pushed me toward the back of the dimly lit restaurant where DJ BFG was pumping the music out and more party goers were moshing together in a sea of movement.
Fully in this dancing swarm, I started to hug the hordes of friends I already knew would be there. I attempted a shouting "hello" exchange with my friends, which, of course, was pointless. The remixed bass tones coming out of the speakers made everyone there a mime -- all action, no sound. So a hug and smile had to suffice and with greetings done, we started to groove again.
Then the music suddenly stopped.
Everyone at Allium looked at Gabe. He quickly explained we were stealing too much electric juice and we’d have to reroute the equipment wires to the kitchen. Surprisingly, there was no booing, which happens often when the music abruptly stops. We needed the music fixed and we were willing to wait to make sure we could have it. Sans music, this actually gave me a chance to say hello to friends and to introduce them to our newest Berkshire resident, James Puckett. Cause hey, there’s no better place to make new friends then at a dance party.
Five short minutes later, the music was pumping again and everyone went right back to dancing. Many times it takes people a few hours and a few glasses of liquid courage to get on the dance floor, but not here. There wasn’t a single body in the narrow space that wasn’t moving.
As the night unfolded, BFG continued to spin hip-hop, remix indie rock and even some "wedding" tunes and we continued to dance. Beads of sweat were forming on people’s heads and the ventilation was almost non-existent, but no one seemed to care. Mr. W and I were being pushed left and right. Some of my body parts were slightly assaulted a few times, but it was totally worth it. The unstoppable dancing energy of the crowd was at an all-time high and the floor was literally moving under our feet.
My explanation of this dance-dance revolution? Berkshire County residents are just desperate to dance and Mariclaire’s party delivered. This was the thaw melting, spring has sprung, life exists again event we’ve been waiting weeks for. And South County long barren of a good dance party, got its groove back.
And though Mariclaire isn’t sure how many pop-up parties will happen in the future, I would stay tuned for more of them. After all, people will always want to dance.