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get into the 
groove how to plan party music to get your guests dancing
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For many, many years, I was convinced that the full-blown, blare-the-music, dance-till-y’all drop house party – of the sort most frequently seen in cheesy movies of the teen romantic-comedy genre – only existed in the minds of Hollywood screenwriters. Real-life dancing was reserved for clubs, and those occasional fancy-schmancy formal events – times where the music was firmly controlled by professionals who knew just what to do to get folks moving on the dance floor. Real-life parties, on the other hand, generally consisted of beer, chips, and plenty of sitting around.

Apparently I was just going to the wrong parties. One of the biggest revelations of my mid- (okay, getting on to late) twenties has been that the parties I go to now are probably more fun and outrageous than any I ever attended in the college years. Don’t get me wrong – college made me a true connoisseur of that fine art of hanging out – but these days, I expect a bit more from my parties, and generally, my very favorites are the ones that involve shaking the booty to some good steady beats, sharing a makeshift dance floor/living room with fellow sweaty revelers, deep into the wee hours of the morning.

Getting some good dancing going is one of the surest ways to get friends from different social circles to mingle. Plus, dancing is one of those things that shy, quiet types and bubbly chatterboxes can enjoy equally – it requires no conversational skills whatsoever, but involves interacting with the crowd, which makes it the perfect social activity for both introverts and extroverts alike.

So what’s the secret to getting people to dance at your next fabulous soirée? The physical requirements are obvious and easily accommodated: you’ll need an open space and a big crowd, so find/clear out a large area in your digs (wood or tile floor works best, since it’s easier to dance on a smooth surface), then invite absolutely everyone you know (and tell them to bring friends as well). A good stereo and speakers are essential, and a CD changer comes in mighty handy as well. And then, of course, there’s the music …

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