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.
STEP 2. SKANK!
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.
STEP 3. Go SPASTIC!
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?
STEP 4. GO GIRLY
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)”
STEP 5. CALL CANDICE
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!!