Dance Fever

Heads turn as my friends and I march purposefully down Circuit Avenue. The nine o’clock crowds looking for ice cream, the Game Room, fudge, and souvenirs part to let us slip through. It is guaranteed that we are noticed.

You could take this as unashamed self-flattery, but I know it isn’t. Perhaps it is the four-inch heels that my already lanky frame attempts to balance on. Or it could be the Afro wig that sits atop the head of my friend leading the way. It might even be the gold sequined dress that shimmers unrelenting on the friend that follows. More than likely, though, it is the combination of all three of us. It isn’t Halloween; in fact, it is the height of summer. So where in the world are a group of twenty-somethings going on a Wednesday night wearing all combinations of sequins, spandex, platform shoes, wigs, gold chains, and bell- bottoms?

The immediate answer is the taxi stand at the bottom of Circuit Ave. But no, our plan is not to simply joyride around in a fifteen-passenger van in ridiculous costumes. We are actually on a mission to dance the night away to the seventies disco cover band the Boogies, performing at Outerland, the Edgartown nightclub near the airport. For more than ten years, the Boogies have been bringing seventies disco music to the Island. I am sure you have seen the posters plastered across the Island and maybe even heard excited talk of them at one of the thrift stores, but have you ever ventured to see them? If your answer falls in the “no” category, read on – for you are missing one of the greatest musical traditions the Island has to offer.

Last summer, a friend that has been frequenting the Island her whole life introduced me to the Boogies. She confidently informed our entire group of friends that it would be a night not to be missed, and even reprimanded those of us who had managed to miss them the summer before (my first summer). And how right she was. As I pushed my way through my first Boogies crowd, I was grateful to have the forewarning to dress myself in something at least vaguely bright and floral, but I paled in comparison to the die-hard fans – and especially the Boogies themselves.

On the stage before me, members of the band were clad in amazing sequin and spandex costumes, wigs, sunglasses, denim, fringe, fur. Afro hairstyles, both real and fake, dotted the heads of crowd members, sometimes obstructing the view of the stage. People from all over the Island, and of all ages, ranging from tourists in the know to seasoned full-timers, were there to “freak out” and “get down on it” with the Boogies. It was easy for me to forget that disco was dead long before I was even born. That first night was a valuable learning experience, teaching me optimal Boogies etiquette, including to arrive before ten o’clock, get my drinks immediately, and then spend minimal time away from the dance floor, for fear of missing my favorite songs or a chance to dance on stage.

As you might guess, we had a blast on that first Boogies night and were immediately counting down the days to the next. To our delight, the Boogies hit the stage another five times before the end of the season, and I was at all but one of the shows, with a new costume of flair and flavor at each. I was recently saddened to learn that this summer will not be nearly as full of disco covers, as the Boogies will only be performing once a month. This means two things: You have fewer opportunities to see what I am talking about, and I will not get to wear as many of my favorite disco-inspired thrift store finds. Regardless, you’d better believe that for every possible show, I will be there, front and center, over six feet tall, sequin clad, and pretending to know all of the words. And if I’m lucky, maybe even dancing on stage.