- Very Serious: An Advice Column By Kelly Conaboy -Help!! Do I Need To Learn TikTok Dances For A Zoomer's Wedding?
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My 20-something cousin is getting married this year, and while dancing at weddings is one of my favorite things, I fear every song will require a fully choreographed TikTok dance that I do not know. Do I try to learn the most popular dances in preparation? Or do I just do my own thing and risk looking like a post-Gen Z fool?
Michelle, let me share a story with you. In my recent history, I had a job during which all employees were asked, quite forcefully, to learn a TikTok dance to perform together during a Zoom meeting. The performance was a goodbye surprise for a coworker who was leaving for another job. Some of my coworkers were young, but almost all of them were millennial or older. Many were married. Some were mothers. Mothers, Michelle. (I think it is important to note all of my coworkers were women; you can answer for yourself whether you think this humiliation would have been asked of other genders.) (Something else worth noting, just so you can have the full scope of the psychological damage inflicted, is that this was happening in April of the year 2020.)
I, age 32 at the time, looked at a YouTube tutorial for this TikTok dance, but the small amount of dignity I possess kept me from attempting to learn it. Instead, during the performance element of the Zoom, I just moved my hands around a little. I don’t think anyone noticed, as I imagine they were all too busy hoping no one was noticing them. Hearing the song (Doja Cat “Say So”) at the grocery store or on the radio gives me shame PTSD to this day. That Zoom screen … Michelle, it was not a pretty sight.
I understand not wanting to seem out-of-touch or like an anti-fun stick in the mud at a wedding, while all of the young people around you is doing the weird little mechanical dance they know from their phone. But, Michelle, I have to come down pretty forcefully on this one. TikTok and the dances that happen therein are none of our business. Please — do not attempt to learn these dances.
I was curious whether choreographed TikTok dances were really a “thing” at Zoomer weddings, and there are some postings online that lead me to believe they might be (“Top 50 TikTok Songs To Play At Your Event”). I don’t know for a fact that TikTok dances will happen at this event, but they might, so we have to prepare for the worst (TikTok) while hoping for the best (Abba). So let’s think it through.
Now, unlike me in that Zoom, I do not think it would be wise for you to even attempt to seem like you’re familiar with these dances if and when they arise. No one wants to scan the crowd and accidentally catch Old Cousin Michelle (my apologies) doing the dance wrong. Even Old Cousin Michelle (my apologies) doing the dance right would, I think, seem a bit off. Here is what I think you should do instead: just dance the way you want to dance.
Luckily, from what I’ve seen, most of these TikTok dances are not particularly beautiful, or even fun looking. Many of them are like if cheerleaders were only allowed to move their arms, or if the American Ballet Theatre and Boston Dynamics joined forces to create a robot dancer that could be used in a wartime scenario. They are as if an entire style of dance were based on “The Macarena.” You are not missing out on anything, and I do believe — like “The Macarena” — these dances will seem embarrassing in the not-too-distant future.
If you’re finding that hard to believe, just imagine the contempt Gen Z has for the millennial generation. Now imagine the contempt the generation after Gen Z will have for Gen Z. Now imagine what that generation will think of the TikTok dances. “Cringe,” as I believe Gen Z at least used to say.
So, Michelle, dance like no one is watching. Or, alternatively, like everyone is watching, but only to make sure that you are not attempting to do the dances from TikTok that you learned for the purpose of this wedding. Again, they are none of your business. They are also none of my business. I hope we never think about them again.
I hope this information is freeing.
Image: Parekh Cards; stick figure: Kelly Conaboy.