I don’t love dancing, but I’m known to hold down a solid two-step so that I don’t have to stand around awkwardly in a corner. And while we’ve hoisted the Akron music scene up to its proper pedestal, one question remains: Why is there nowhere to dance in Akron?
I’ve heard the legends about Thursday’s Lounge. I’ve been told it’s so packed on Thursdays you can’t move. In my head it looks like the Nelly “Hot In Herre” video, but with red decor instead of blue. I’ve been told that still happens, but the music selection caters more to college students, which unfortunately deters an older crowd from going.
Mighty Soul Night happens every month downtown—a perfect ‘no request’ style jam—but it’s poorly attended. Some people say it’s because they feel like the room isn’t danceable. Some say that it is, but if the attendance is low, it doesn’t make you want to dance.
When I attended the Silent Disco at PorchRokr this year, which took place on the sidewalk in front of Mustard Seed Market & Cafe in Highland Square, I watched about 75 people dance and sing to everything from Michael Jackson and The Village People to Future and Cassidy. Granted, this was the afterparty to PorchRokr and the presentation (three DJ’s of different styles all with free range in song selection) was flawless. It still doesn’t change the fact that Akronites wanted to dance, and when the opportunity came up, they did.
I think there are positive tips to take away from the execution of that party. Live music as a whole has moved from bars and nightclubs to unconventional spaces and pop-up parties. Why pay $500 for a DJ who’s “really good” when your Spotify playlist makes everyone drink just as much? For the attendee, paying $10 to get into an empty club to sip a $10 drink doesn’t appeal anymore.
I think the focus has to return to the music, first and foremost. DJs need to have a free canvas to do their jobs, which is to keep the party moving by reading their crowd, playing good tunes and creating an experience you can only get at *insert location.* For the dancers, requests are dead, and don’t ask for them to come back. Come to party, and know that every song may not be for you, but the end goal will be that you had a great time.
I don’t think this responsibility lies on any specific establishment. As with anything else in the scene, we have a choice of creating a PorchRokr after party or supporting something like Mighty Soul Night. Whatever our dancing Akronites decide, I’ll be there quietly holding down my two-step.