April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

For many years now, Jews making bar/bat mitzvah parties have enlisted the help of the ever-popular dance motivators. In theory, the dance motivators are supposed to focus on the rambunctious adolescents, many of whom need a drill sergeant on the dance floor to galvanize the troops and keep them in line. In most cases, the dance motivators succeed in controlling even the most obstreperous young stallions and in creating the menschiest mosh pit imaginable.

Unfortunately, dance motivators sometimes drift over to the adults and accidentally instigate impromptu parental dance-offs that often leave the impressionable children recoiling in horror. Thus, those who hire dance motivators should instruct them to keep a safe distance from the adults and, in a perfect world, those who hire dance motivators also should hire a separate set of “dancer dissuaders” to discourage those adults who have no business dancing in public.

For better or for worse, dance motivators tend to leave an indelible mark and they certainly have the potential to lift a party up to previously unattainable heights. This makes you wonder if there are other situations in life in which it would be appropriate to use dance motivators.

It actually is easier to first imagine situations in which dance motivators would not be appropriate. For example, if a loved one passes away and you want to make the funeral more memorable, do not resort to dance motivators. If you are having trouble fasting on Yom Kippur and you need some support, the use of dance motivators is extremely ill-advised. If you are organizing an intervention, do not even consider using dance motivators, unless you are intervening on someone because they refuse to dance in public.

If you’re trying to broker a peace agreement, do not put negotiations in the hands (or hips) of dance motivators. If you’re late for your flight and need to breeze through airport security, being accompanied by dance motivators will only slow you down. If you have an important job interview and want to make a strong first impression, leave the dance motivators in the car, unless you are applying to be a Rockette. If you are trying to break up with someone who just won’t accept the break-up, dance motivators will be of limited value, unless they know how to “break”dance.

If your wife is giving birth and you want to offer some encouragement, do not pack the delivery room with dance motivators. Trust me, your birthing spouse will not appreciate having complete strangers in the room bouncing up and down and yelling out typical dance motivation expressions like “You can do it!,” “Make some noise!” and “Let’s do this all night long!”

With all of that said, there arguably are certain circumstances in which dance motivators might be appropriate. For instance, if guests are visiting but they have overstayed their welcome, cue the dance motivators and let them Foxtrot your tarrying visitors to the door. If you’re standing under the chuppah but the person you are about to marry starts to get cold feet, cue the dance motivators and let them Quickstep your future spouse down the aisle. If your unruly and petulant child is swinging from the chandelier and refuses to go to sleep, cue the dance motivators and let them Paso Doble that brat to bed.

By way of further example, if a student is slacking off at school, the teacher could hire dance motivators to Cha-cha the underachiever all the way to the honor roll. If a lazy basketball player is not playing with maximum effort, the coach could hire dance motivators to Tango the torpid all the way to the All-Star team. If an astronaut is having second thoughts about a mission, NASA could hire dance motivators to Rumba the reluctant onto the rocket ship. (Yes, a break-dancing dance motivator could even teach the astronauts how to moonwalk.)

If a rabbi is becoming frustrated with recalcitrant congregants who rarely show up on-time for the Shabbat morning service, the rabbi might consider hiring dance motivators to wake up the snoozing truants and Waltz them to shul early enough to make the minyan. (Yes, the rabbi could then refer to the dance motivators as his “Minyan Minions.”)

Final thought: In the words of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” Speaking of Eisenhower, he famously dangled a nuclear threat to motivate an end to the Korean War but some scholars believe the “nuclear” option was nothing more than a fierce dance troupe known as “Atomic Attitude.”

By Jon Kranz

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