Dance, Magic Dance

I love to dance. Lindy Hop Swing is my favorite, but I enjoy all kinds of dancing and so do my kids. Nothing can beat the doldrums of a monotonous day for my kids and me like a spontaneous freeze dance game. I also love the environment of dances. Swing dances at the Mercury Café or the Turnverein in Denver have an air of the 1940s with pressed slacks and cotton dresses. Ballroom dances at the Temple Events Center bring back turn of the century romance and adventure. Club dances, popular in my college days, fill a dark room with the electricity of adrenaline and spontaneity.

But what do we do to scratch that itch to go out and dance now that we have kids? Family Dance Planet, that’s what! Organizer and certified music teacher Kristin McLean transforms the Avalon Ballroom in Boulder into a movin’ and groovin’ oasis for families with kids. Family friendly songs from bands like the B-52’s and the Beatles welcome you the 2 1/2 event. Kristen leads the group in guided song and dance flavored by the rhythms of traditional West African drums and traditional lyrics that emphasize the interconnected fabric of all the life on earth. Babies sway in arms, toddlers bounce on the shoulders and skip with scarves, and older kids keep rhythm with maracas and spontaneous group dances.

Plush couches line the sides of the dance floor and allow for ample down-time space. A cozy corner full of yoga mats and pillows invites infants to explore in a safe area and still be a part of the musical environment. And the whole family can reflect under a tree of life full of stuffed animals, plants, and items of the season, be it flowers in the Spring, or harvested food in the Fall.

Sure, it feels very Boulder-hippie (especially with a constant flow incense in the air), but it’s not so hippie-ish that it should deter any dance-happy folks.

My family and I had a wonderful time at the Family Dance Planet. My daughter found her inner interpretive dancer and my boys flew around the room pretending to be eagles. After living in Boulder during college, it really felt like the quintessential Boulder experience for all who love to dance and celebrate the Earth.

Family Dance Planet takes place on the third Saturday of every month, with the exception of June 2012, which is the fourth Saturday.  The event runs from 9:30–noon. The Avalon Ballroom is on 62nd and Arapahoe in Boulder. For more information, please visit:


Jennifer Smith-Daigle is a stay-at-home mother of a third grade daughter and twin kindergarten boys. She and her boys are survivors of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, being some of the first 200 people in the United States to be cured by Fetoscopic Laser Ablation surgery. Jennifer’s life before kids included world travel, historic preservation, and archaeology digs. When she’s not busy with a house full of kids and enough mammals to constitute a small zoo, Jennifer finds freedom in freelance writing, martial arts, and gardening.