How to Get Down to “the Monster Mash” Safely
By Savanna Stone //
There are some dance moves that will be around forever, and we do them at every dance. I’m not talking about dancing at a club or a bar or a high school dance where you grind up on people. I’m talking about a nice, clean dance with creative people and cool dance moves, like a birthday party, or better, a Halloween party. I’m talking about a party where you listen to “Thriller,” “This Is Halloween,” and “the Monster Mash.” And if you’re throwing a party like that, let’s face it; you are probably a bit older and you have back pain and neck pain. So how can you get your groove on and still enjoy time with your family and friends?
Avoid these dance1 moves:
The egyption walk.
Walking like an egyption will never go out of style. It’s fun. It’s easy. And people want to join you when you do it. But have you ever been walking like an egyption and you got a crick in your neck because you jerked it too fast? That’s why staying away from egyption walking for your next party might be the best way to go. Try moonwalking instead. You might have better neck luck.
Single ladies moves.
The dance routine that Beyoncé made for her iconic song “Single Ladies” has been a favorite for 10 years now. Even if a lady isn’t single, she is bound to get down to that song and know the dance for it. But the side to side neck jerks in this song coupled with the hand flip can cause you to focus too hard on things other than your neck and can put a kink in your dance and your neck. And all that hip moving in the dance isn’t too good for your back, especially if your body isn’t used to it. If you insist on doing the single ladies dance at your next party, make sure you stretch your neck and hips before you begin, because doing those moves with tight muscles will definitely cause muscle strain and soreness.
Come on baby. Let’s not do the twist. The twist twists your back. If you already have a bad back or neck, doing the twist can further aggravate your sore muscles and spine. Like many other dances, if you love doing the twist, just make sure you stretch before you twist so that your tight muscles won’t cause muscle spasms or extra pain.
We all remember when Carlton danced to Tom Jones’s “It’s Not Unusual . . .” for the first time. It henceforth became known as the Carlton—swinging your arms back and forth at rapid rates as you step back and forth to the beat. If you do the Carlton exactly like Carlton did, you might jerk your back too fast and pull a muscle. Maybe only do the Carlton to slow songs at your party.
If you’re dancing with your partner, you might get dipped or be the dipper. If you get dipped, focus on keeping your chest high and trust your partner. If you tighten your neck, that might also cause you pain. Try to gently let your head fall back as your partner dips you. While you’re backwards, keep your knees bent. If you’re the dipper, give your partner a reason to trust you and hold on tight as you dip them. If your partner doesn’t feel safe, your partner will use their muscles to try and lift themselves up, which could hurt your partner’s back. And remember to keep yourself safe too. Bend your knees to give you support as you dip your partner. These precautions should help you get through the song.
The Bernie lean.
Just like dipping can be bad for your back and neck, the Bernie lean can be too. The Bernie lean causes you to lean backwards while awkwardly holding your head up or sometimes pushing your head too far back. Leaning backwards puts extra weight on your neck and back and can cause pain. Instead of doing the Bernie lean, just to the simple side to side step. It works. Snap your fingers; really get into it. It’s just as fun.
Hopefully with these tips, you can still get down to “the Monster Mash” and enjoy your party—pain-free.