Janelle Monáe (pictured here at an ACL TV taping in 2018) is on Qmmunity’s go-to dance playlist. (Photo by David Brendan Hall)
To my fellow millennials: You guys remember wildin’ out to “Cha-Cha Slide” in P.E., right? Thanks to most school-sanctioned functions between 2000 and, like, today, DJ Casper’s interactive jam has got to be one of my generation’s top pop culture references. “Take it back now, y’all” drops, and one hop and a few stomps later, I find myself cha-cha-ing real smooth on autopilot like I’m Pavlov’s dog. (Seriously, WTF, y’all?)
“Cha-Cha Slide” was my teachers’ go-to method for lifting weary preteen spirits, but I remained dubious of dancing’s mood-enhancing powers. To a certain extent, I still am. This isn’t to say I don’t love a queer dance party, because lordess knows I do. A lot of us do. It’s one of the things I miss the most amid our COVID-19-related closures. (Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” just hits different now, am I right?) Dancing, however, hasn’t always sparked joy in my limbs. My lower hemisphere refuses to synch with my upper half, so it’s a lot of dancing with just my hands. A visual: Sen. Elizabeth Warren after she’s flipped the switch.
In what feels like many moons ago-go, I came across an article in The New York Times about mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. Experts quoted endorsed “anything rhythmic” – singing, dancing, yoga, to name a few – to help create moments of “attunement” between others. In layman’s terms, these practices help our nervous system chill the eff out during these stressful AF times. So you know what? I decided to start dancing on my own more. Dancing while waiting for my coffee to brew; busting a few moves while folding laundry; and even cha-cha sliding while I type this column.
It’s not a magic cure-all, of course, but the dancing doesn’t make me feel worse. Without a crowd watching, I think it’s even helped me feel a little less awkward in this body of mine. It’s a small win-win, but I’ll take it. I’ve curated a playlist to help y’all get in the bust-a-move mood, if it strikes yer fancy. For now, we might have to dance alone together, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create some magic in the meantime.
2 To Do
April Showers Sabel Scities hosts this virtual fundraiser for Project Transitions, the Austin-based nonprofit providing housing and recuperative care for Central Texans living with HIV/AIDS. Tune in at 2:30pm for a special preshow featuring performances by Sabel Scities, CupCake, Jack Rabid, and Jezebel, before the fun continues at 3pm with more entertainment, cameos, and auction prizes. Sun., April 26, 2:30-6:30pm. Online. Free, but donations welcome. www.projecttransitions.cbo.io.
Thee Lonely Gays Social From Thee Gay Agenda and Greetings From Queer Mountain New Orleans comes a virtual speed-dating affair to find a QT, bae, or friend. Plus, there will be an intermission with performances by Austin’s Jade Fusco and New Orleans’ Lash Wednesdays. Sun., April 26, 7-8:30pm. Online. www.fb.com/thee.gay.agenda.
To find more Qmmunity listings, visit austinchronicle.com/events/qmmunity, and as a friendly reminder: Please send virtual events for listings to firstname.lastname@example.org.