I’ve worked as a teacher at El Dorado Middle School for over twenty years. I’ve had the absolute privilege of being able to chaperone dances for many of those same years, and seeing the children progress with the times has been incredible to see with my own eyes. However, there was one year that was the highlight of my time chaperoning: 2009. Why you may ask? Because that was the year that Taio Cruz released the song Dynamite, and changed the face of middle school dances for all of 2009.

I remember the very first time I heard the song. The lights were sufficiently dim, the smell of sweat traveled through the air, plaid skirts and short sleeve button-ups dotted my line of sight.

I I I I I I I came to dance, dance, dance, dance

The children all did indeed hit the floor as they planned, each wearing their favorite brands. I was frozen in my corner, unable to focus on anything other than the sound reverberating into my ears and throughout the gymnasium. The song released an energy that to this day I struggle to find the words for. It activated pheromones, tears, a thirst for life, hope, even.

The outcasts who had been exiled to sit in the corner rushed to the center of the gym. This was their moment. The song was a rallying cry for the downtrodden.

We gon’ light it up, like it’s dynamite

The metaphorical moment of explosion sent the energy of the room to a fever pitch. Children with missing front teeth adopted the confidence of lions, each roaring to their pride. For all of their peers made up their pride tonight. Even an “old fart” like me. I felt as connected to those children as Taio Cruz did with Ludacris in his other hit song, Break Your Heart.

Put your hands in the air air air air air ai- ai- a- a- a-

The piano pulsated as the song reached its climactic finish. The children were desperate to make this moment last forever, but alas, all good things must come to an end. I found myself jumping with my hands in the air along to the beat, unsure of where the wave of warmth and love that had washed over me came from.

We gon’ light it up, like it’s dynamite

As the song ended in tandem with the event, we all left the hormone-ridden gym changed for the better. I know that Taio Cruz may have dropped off of the face of the planet, but in that moment at El Dorado Middle School, he became immortal. He became a God amongst pre/post-pubescent children and their respective chaperones. He was the voice we needed most and were able to hear at the exact right moment.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.