Four steps to the life of the party

For men, the most terrifying aspect of a wedding is that the ceremony is followed by food which is often followed by dancing. Many men would rather rivet their own thumbs to plywood with a nail gun rather than be dragged onto a dance floor.

We had precisely such a male in our circle recently, who happened to be doing double duty as the groom.

After expressing concern several times about making an idiot out of himself on the dance floor, a soon-to-be sister-in-law of the groom jumped up and announced she could teach anyone to dance. This was a shock to those of us who know her because (a) she can’t dance and (b) she can’t dance. After a brief demonstration it was clear that we had been wrong. She can teach anyone to dance. Here it is, straight from our bad-dancer dance instructor, four easy steps that will put anyone at ease on the dance floor.

Step one is to take up as much space as possible. Our dance instructor demonstrated by flailing her arms in large circles. Picture a wind turbine crossed with an airline worker waving orange sticks marshalling a jet to the gate and you’ve got it.

“Don’t worry about finding the beat,” she instructed. “Just move your legs as well as your arms.” She scissor stepped to the front, back, side, and gave a small jump. “The more limbs you move,” she said, arms and legs now propelling in opposite directions, “the greater your chance one of them will hit the beat.” Someone leaned over to the groom, nodded toward the instructor, and said, “It only takes one loon like that on the dance floor to get the party moving. No one will even notice you’re out there.”

The second step, our instructor advised, is to add interest to your flailing arms and legs. Unfortunately, this is often the place where men divide themselves into two categories: the-easily-intimidated and the don’t-know-when-to-quit. The first group cautiously rocks back and forth without so much as lifting a foot looking like both shoes have been gummed to the floor. The latter group overdoes it by bouncing up and down resembling a trick poodle jumping for a treat.

The dance instructor advised keeping your moves real using movements from real life. Like cleaning your ear with a Q-tip, or working out a crick in your shoulder, or virtually anything having to do with lawn maintenance. She mimicked an oscillating sprinkler, pushing a lawn mower, shoveling dirt, and the best one, rolling an imaginary power cord onto a reel.

“If you run out of everyday moves,” she gasped, “throw in a few steps from a workout video.” She inserted some Billy Blanks Tae Bo moves, followed by basic Pilates and several reps with imaginary hand weights.

“The third step,” she wheezed, “is to use a microphone.” She grabbed an invisible microphone and proceeded to lip sync. It was like Beyonce at the inauguration.

“My last piece of advice,” she panted, “and the most important piece of advice is this: If you are on the dance floor and you sense a large circle forming – get in the middle of it!”

Don’t look for her on “Dancing With the Stars” anytime soon.