“Nobody puts Baby in a corner” may be the first words that pop into your head when you hear “Dirty Dancing,” but the event held November 13 was unrelated to the popular movie by the same title. Organized by The Disaster Response Team, or DiRT, in conjunction with the Theta Chi fraternity, DiRTy Dancing raised funds for the Alternative Spring Breaks run by the Center for Outreach Volunteerism Education (COVE). DiRT, during global, national and regional crises, plans and executes response and relief to the affected areas. Their trips in the past have included Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina as well as Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief; this academic year students will travel to New Bern, North Carolina, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and Hato Mayor in the Dominican Republic.
Since the film went to theaters in 1987, the party centered on an 80’s neon theme, with students dressed up in classic trends: the side, high ponytail, leggings, leg warmers, off-the-shoulder shirts and headbands. Theta Chi provided black light, glowsticks, music and the location, selling tickets to students for $5 each.
The purpose of this dance party was not only to widen the range of applicants to the COVE’s alternative breaks, but also to increase the amount of collaboration between Colgate’s Greek life and the COVE.
Even though neither the late Patrick Swayze nor Jennifer Grey made an appearance, the dance proved a success and everyone there seemed to enjoy the theme and the music. And while they danced, they were also supporting a greater cause and helping out the COVE. Thus, this event illustrated that Colgate students can often discover methods of fun that simultaneously contribute to community service and aid the university. Just as in the 1987 movie, in which the main characters demonstrate that their dancing actually contains deeper meaning and a message, DiRTy Dancing offers another reason for dance besides its entertainment. Although the movie and the party seemingly have no ties to each other beyond their link to the 80’s, in the end, they both reveal that we can affect change and make a difference by simply participating in activities that we love and by having fun.
As much as we ridicule the 80’s for its big hair and slang terms such as “eat my shorts,” “head banger” and “hip,” it would seem that they can still teach us about creating opportunities to impact the world positively through our passions. Maybe dancing at a party is not exactly your true passion in life, but if it at least is how you would want to spend your Friday night, and if you can contribute to a cause at the same time, then a little piece of the 80’s has granted us a lesson. Baby and Johnny had a much more intense battle for their cause, but that does not make the actions of Colgate students any less admirable. the main point of “Dirty Dancing” may not have been to inspire us to dance for a greater good, but if that is what we walk away with, the Colgate community will benefit as will all of the locations of this year’s Alternative Spring Breaks. Who knew the 80’s still had so much left to say?