How do you dance to punk-ska-folk-jug-rock?

Now that I’ve officially chosen my next drag song, “Just a Limit” by Mighty Max,  I have just over two weeks to choreograph, practice, and make it perfect.

The first step is to learn the words.  It helps that I grew up listening to the original “Just a Girl” by No Doubt.  My brother had their CD, and I remember seeing them live at the Washington DC HFStival in ’96.  However I keep struggling with the last verse. “Tweedle-dum, there is no comparison” … what does that even mean?  Is Gwen Stefani like Alice falling down the rabbit hole of male oppression?  Finally, Tanisha reminded me that this is just a teenage rant – it doesn’t have to make sense.  Finally I got it.

But how do I dance to a mash-up?  Particularly this weird mashup of punk-ska-folk-jug-rock?

STEP 1. Just JUMP around

Dancing wasn’t very complicated in the 90s, particularly at live concerts. There was one move: jump!! If you really liked the song, jump more.  If in doubt, keep jumping.  In fact that pretty much sums up the original No Doubt’s music video too.  Let’s jump about in a girl’s restroom!!

No Doubt “Just a Girl”

While this might work for an audience, I can’t just jump up and down on stage for 3 minutes.


Apparently there were some principles behind all that 90s moshing.  Before they hit it big with the “Tragic Kingdom”, No Doubt were trying to be a ska band, and while “I’m a girl” is definitely not a ska song (I will probably be disgruntled 90s trolls just for mentioning that), it does still have some of that off-beat rhythm.   Dancing to ska music is called skanking – simply bend your elbows, make some fists, swing your arms, and kick like crazy.  I can’t believe that there are actually Youtube tutorials teaching proper moshing form.  Not very feminine though.


Or I could look to the other mash-up song for inspiration – Julien Doré‘s Les Limites, whose music video is just one long dance-off.  My favorite version is where Julien dances, while Patricia sings (while holding a chicken).  Maybe it’s the gender reversal on the vocals, or just the fact that Julien dances just like I do with the knees swaying and arms flailing like a windmill.

Julien Doré “Les Limites”

Which version do you prefer?

Or lets go in the opposite direction and stuff it with girly fluff.  In fact, I found a cover by the girl band “Girl Radical” who seem to have recruited a member for every ethnic stereotype (there is at least 11 of them).  Like the Spice Girls but even more formulaic.  A lot of booty poppin, twirling, and sexy shoulder shrugs. I am not saying it’s all good, but I could use some of this.

Girl Radical “Just a girl (cover)”


OK. Perhaps I need a professional. Tuesday, I met with Candice from the Secret Pole Dance Studio to choreograph an actual routine. This routine is mostly a chair tease.  A lot of the moves are similar to ones we do on the pole with laybacks, folds, and fan kicks.  The opening practically writes itself:

“Take this pink ribbon off my eyes, I’m exposed by it’s no big surprise”

My legs are open a lot so I will need to be very careful about my undergarments.  She also came up with a great ending that actually fits the “burdensome” lyrics as I push the chair across the stage.  In between, I may have to simplify the moves a little.  I am not really flexible enough so when I am sitting with my back to audience, I can’t turn all the way back to look at them.  It seems like cheating if they can’t see my lips. Secondly, I need to find a way to walk more and get closer to my loving audience. My next dance lesson is on Sunday.  Until then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!


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