The Little Black Dress

Coco Chanel put the little black dress on the map in 1926 by featuring it in American Vogue. This dress was created for the new age self-confident woman that would look elegant on the arm of her husband while smoking one of those fashionable cigarettes that modern-day Virginia Slims are modeled after. Chanel didn’t have today’s woman in mind when she designed that first little black dress. If she did, she would’ve designed a dress for the badass woman complete with extra stretch in it for maximum range of motion while dancing. It would cascade in beautiful waves when you spin and kick in it, it would be sleeveless to show off the cut muscles while punching, and it would have pockets deep enough to hold the much-needed sweat towel. It would be a dress that today’s woman could wear to Groove. A place I go when I want to feel both elegant and a badass. I’ve perfected the badass feeling, but I’m still working on the elegant part. I no longer look like a drunken gorilla, but I’m far from elegant when I dance. The badass persona works for me because it allows me to metaphorically punch and kick away the stress in my life while listening to what my teenage daughter refers to as “music moms who drive minivans shouldn’t listen to.” FYI, that’s not one of the minivan rules you’re given when you purchase the car.

Groove is my happy place…well, one of my happy places…the other two are the boxed wine section of the liquor store and my cozy mountain retreat in Vail. As soon as I walk into that club lit dark room and hear the music, the stress of my day or week disappears, and it’s all about dancing, specifically trying not to make too many fall on your face mistakes while dancing. Two years ago when I started this journey, I would disappear into the back corner of the room and hope no one noticed I was there. I’m fairly certain I spent a fair amount of time dancing behind a support column at the back of the room. Now I march straight up to the second row, not the first row because I’m not ready for that yet, and OWN my spot…that I may or may not get a little possessive about. I’m not quite sure how I went from someone who only danced at Midwest family weddings to 80s songs like  Come On Eileen (because Wisconsin loves 80s music a little too much) to someone that looks forward to dancing multiple times per week and sweating like I ran all the way from Wisconsin.

Something transformative happens when I go to Groove. No one needs anything from me, and I can just let go, dance, and sweat in a somewhat  aggressive way without caring. Do I have rhythm? Absolutely not! Do I care? Absolutely not(ish)! What matters most is that I feel better about myself  and I look better than the me of two years ago when I started Groove. That me wore nothing but pants with very, very, very forgiving elastic waistbands and hid in the back of the class while panting and desperately hoping to not die before the end of it. Now I wear pants that zip and  button, and no longer worry about dying mid-twerk. Groove has given me the same power that Coco Chanel stitched into the fabric of that very first  little black dress. It has given me the power of self-confidence, the power to put myself first once and a while, and the power to not always care what other people think. I don’t know much about Coco Chanel, but I’d like to believe that if she were alive today, she’d walk into Groove full of  confidence in badass little black dress (minus the cigarette) and dance her heart out. As for me, I’ll eventually get up to the front row, and when I do,  I’ll proudly wear my own version of the little black dress, a black tank top that says ‘World’s Okayest Dancer’! – Katie Murphy