School dances. There's a certain similarity to them I think. School gyms or cafeterias. Most lights off. DJ or band rocking the tunes. Some people dancing, others standing around looking at each other.
The thing is by the time I was writing the dance scene in When Mike Kissed Emma it had been a serious number of years since I'd been to a school dance.
And then a fortuitous thing happened, I was asked to help chaperone a middle school dance. My daughter (who was only in fifth grade at the time) got to go and hang with her middle school friends. I served soda and observed.
Many of the elements were what I'd remembered. Dark cafeteria. DJ doing his thing. Groups of girls hanging together. A guy here and there - sometimes with the girls, sometimes in groups of guys. Some people dancing, others not.
One thing that was new and different was the introduction of the cell phone to the mix. Kids were busy taking each other's pictures with the phones and then sending them to each other. They were texting each other and who knew what else. 60 to 70 percent of those kids were probably engaged with their cell phone for most of the night. Very interesting.
And the times when almost everyone got into the act on the dance floor? The line dances like the Cha Cha Slide and Cotton-Eye Joe. I decided that was a good way to have Emma and her friends get everyone dancing at their school dance: they requested the Cha Cha Slide.
Now you know the inspiration behind it.
Countdown: 9 days.