Charlotte Hayes Murray, owner of Charlotte Elliott and the Bookstore Next Door in Hampden, caught the “Dance Walk” YouTube video floating around Facebook — in which LXTV NBC reporter Ben Aaron boogies Fifth Avenue to pumping music, mirroring an anonymous disco-dancing man, eventually getting packs of random strangers involved in the dorky/euphoric act — and immediately forwarded the footage to other Hampden-based friends and shop owners.
Hays Murray and her friends challenged more friends to meet at the Druid Park Reservoir and dance one circuit together. The first Dance Walk event in Baltimore’s history happened last rainy Tuesday.
“I sent [the video] to Angela Grube (owner of 9th Life) and showed it to my friend Jannel Cannady, and we were all enthused,” Hays Murray says. “We had been talking about dieting and weight loss and how boring it was to work out. This sounded like something we could totally do and stick to, and Druid Park Reservoir seemed like a perfect place to do it. I am sure there are plenty of groove master dance walkers in Charm City, just like the groove master guru in the video, but to my knowledge this is the first [official] group Dance Walking Team.”
Because wet weather intervened, the inaugural Dance Walk’s turnout was tiny. Charlotte and her friend Adena “bopped halfheartedly the 1.5 mile track” music-less, sadly, which took about 45 minutes. Tomorrow — 10 a.m. — marks a second chance for locals to dance/walk their pants off in unison. Sunshine permitting, Charlotte and her pals, and pals of pals, will be armed with a boombox, rocking bouncier steps as a bigger group.
“[The Dance Walk will happen] every Tuesday at 10 a.m. The time fits into my and Angela’s schedules because we have to open our shops on 36th Street at 11,” Hays Murray says.
One hundred invitations have been issued on Facebook. So far, nine people have committed, including this reporter, incidentally. Hays Murray expects more people to get into the groove later as news of the ongoing event spreads, and as people can finally wrap their minds around the mildly embarrassing image of public dancing in broad daylight for exercise’s sake.
“Some people laugh at the idea because it really does sound ridiculous. But how much more ridiculous is it than spin class?” Hays Murray asks. “With a large group, images of [a] parade or [the] Soul Train dance line come to mind.”
All sounds like goofy, mildly athletic, highly social fun to me. Indeed, in the viral video, sassy Ben Aaron says that Dance Walking combines three of his favorite activities, “interacting with people, seeing the city and dancing.”
Interested? What you need to get involved, according to Hays Murray: passion, sunscreen and a sense of humor.
“I am drawn to this Dance Walking because I can do it with friends; it is free style so I am not worried about doing it right or wrong,” Hays Murray adds. “All are welcome but leave your snark, your embarrassment and inhibition in the car. Wear sunscreen and clothes you can easily move and feel comfortable in.”
I will report back with photos. Or maybe even sooner, I’ll dance + walk with you there!
Druid Park Reservoir, 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 8th