Did Fortnight Make Dancing Cool?

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Up front I just want to clarify a few things — I know articles about the effects of Fortnite on society is no hot take. This article is specifically talking about it popularizing dancing among middle schoolers and younger, and not among adults. Finally, this is going to heavily biased by my upbringing as a white, straight man in a landlocked state whose chief culinary delights are green chile and Rocky Mountain oysters (look them up if you don’t know.) Now, let’s jump out of this battle bus and get this started.

Going home for winter break was a wonderful time where I got to see old friends, my family, and most importantly my dog. While at a gathering of my extended family, I got to see some of my second cousins who range from 8 years old to 15 years old. One of the main things that they wanted to show off to the gathered grandparents, aunts, and uncles was the dance moves that they had learned. So we gathered in a big circle around them all and then they started flossing and doing the shoot and various other dance moves popularized by Fortnite.

I’m sure these kids had never seen Fresh Prince, yet I watched them start doing the Carlton better than I ever could. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed kids dancing almost anytime I go to an event. Now I don’t want to sound like an adult that doesn’t know what’s going on and hates on all trends that I don’t understand, but thinking back to when I was their age I would have never danced like that or danced at all. Period.

Again, I am heavily influenced by my upbringing and also my disposition as a quieter wallflower, but to me from what I remember from middle school dances, it is mostly the few people that take dance classes flipping around in the middle of the room while most of the boys stand around on the edges afraid to get involved in the fun. It’s not that we didn’t want to dance, I think a big thing was that we really didn’t know how. It was a cardinal sin among my friends to do anything more than a simple head bop, for fear of being teased for how our strange, gangly pubescent bodies would move. This fear locked me to the side of the room at every homecoming, winter formal, dance off, flashmob,
and boogie down from 6th to 9th grade, even though I saw how much fun everyone was having.

Now as a semi-adult, I love to dance. I’ll do it anywhere. In an auditorium, in a room full of strangers, walking down the street, anywhere as long as there’s good music and no pressure. I think back to those days when I couldn’t and it amazes me on how much I missed out on. This brings me back to my central point, did Fortnite make dancing cool for middle schoolers, specifically boys? Please if you know that answer, tell me. Was it just something else that triggered this change, or am I fabricating this and projecting my experiences on to adolescence as a whole.

Whatever the answer and whatever you think about kids who can’t do algebra, spending hours shooting guns in a deathmatch I think it’s a generally positive thing that it’s socially acceptable to bust a move without fear of ridicule.

Logan Gilbert, Volunteer Writer