Schools and organizers of dance parties and events involving social dancing face this dilemma: how can they discourage grinding? Some schools make their students sign contracts that detail how to dance appropriately (regarding freestyle dancing). Some others make them wear wristbands that would be snipped off to remind them that they would leave the venue for freak dancing.
But few schools and a handful of organizers have a way of using musical accompaniment for their social dancing events – live bands.
Having a live band surely makes an event with dancing come alive. Although musicians have to bear practicing end-to-end, their varied styles make school dances and other similar, family-friendly events unforgettable experiences. Those on the dance floor can feel the music more compared to having a DJ play the music. Having someone play tracks that have lewd lyrics is comparable to watching a PG-13 to R-rated movie rather than a G to PG-rated Broadway show with at least semi-live music (half backing track and half live orchestra). Also, they can play soft music during the period when guests eat. They have varied musical genres, from big band to the recent pop hits.
But the best thing about live bands is that they rarely play music that is well suited for grinding. Guests can’t dance front-to-back with hips swaying behind a swaying bum with even a five-piece band with just guitars (bass and others), keyboards, and drum sets. Bands with a horn section (think trumpets, saxophones, and occasionally trombones) just can’t play hip-hop music with provocative (profane or not) lyrics teens love to listen to.
Problems arise when someone in the team or dance organizers suggests a live band just to keep their dances clean. First of all, they fear that live bands are expensive. Well, it’s true, as does hiring a DJ. Although the latter is generally cheap, a celebrity one is just as costly. Another issue is space – it’s virtually impossible to fit a big band in a school gymnasium. Bands often take breaks, and if events rely on them solely, they are in trouble when they pause in between songs.
But the biggest issue is that live bands mainly play music that most guests, particularly teenagers don’t really like. Take a band with a keyboardist, a drummer, a bassist, two saxophonists (sometimes doubling on other woodwind instruments), two trumpeters, and a trombonist, for example. When they play a big band tune, be it West Coast Swing or jitterbug hits that students’ grandmothers used to dance to, they would likely complain. That brings up another reason they would not like the idea: the music is not up to date. Teens love to get with the times, and by dancing to recent hits, they would love it. If a live band plays music that is behind their times, they would complain that they are plunged back to a time when bands of that size were the norm in parties. They would also bash the organizers, especially school administrators, that they are prudish and old-fashioned because they hired them to play at their proms! Those who love to keep up with current trends think that those who hire live bands to keep twerking out of dances are dweebs.
If schools (as well as other event organizers) are to discourage grinding on the dance floors, should they just go with jockeys with multimedia players or racks of CDs or hire bands of varying sizes? It’s not just about financial feasibility that should be taken into consideration, but it’s about how clean their music is. If schools go for the cheaper method of having one person play from a portable audio player that can be hooked up to an audio system, they should make sure that the music is clean for students to dance. Also, the music must not have lyrics that encourage them to grind dance in the first place. If they are affluent to hire live bands, they should first examine guests’ expectations before they install them into their events.
When planning a social dancing event and discouraging freak dancing at the same time, consider this. Is it worth it to hire a DJ or a live band?