The Inspiration for "Evolution of Dance"
"The Evolution of Dance" really had an evolution of itself. In 2001, I was just starting out as a speaker and had begun to create a style that I called "inspirational comedy" that would let people know I was going to be funny, yet provide something of substance as well. Knowing full well that I needed to separate myself from other speakers by doing something that no one else was doing, I had begun to try different ways to end my show. I tried stories, slam poetry, quotes, and all sorts of other crazy and bizarre antics. "Life is Change" is one of my main themes and I decided I wanted to tie that idea in with whatever I did.
I was at a conference, sitting in an audience, and watching a black comic perform when he launched into a bit about how he was at a wedding full of white people and how, every 5 or 6 songs, everyone would get up, run to the dance floor, and do the same dance then sit back down. This cycle repeated for the whole wedding and the comic was trying to figure out what was going on! I was laughing so hard at the idea and started to think of all the songs that had very specific dances to them, and started laughing out loud. All of a sudden I thought, "Wow -- it would be really funny to see some of those together. Wait, it would be really funny to see some of those in order!"
I ran to my hotel room and began to write down the songs that came to mind. When I was done, I had a list of 12 songs. I bought a program called GoldWave on the Internet and mixed the music together. About 4 weeks later, I performed it for the first time and instantly knew it was a huge hit. Over the next 4 years I changed the mix -- adding new songs, getting the transitions smooth, and updating it when new songs came out.
In February of 2006, I facilitated a high school leadership conference in which I taught a 4-minute version of the dance to about 500 students. A group of students from Pomperaug High School wanted to do the dance for a talent show, and asked if I would upload it to my MySpace page. I said I would, and then proceeded not to. Determined to get me to do it, they proceeded to message me, email me, comment on my page, until I finally relented and said I would put it up! I uploaded the video to YouTube, posted it to MySpace, and then went about my life.
Four weeks later is when my life really started to change. From there it was nothing short of spectacular as the view count started to climb and the opportunities started to roll in. The Today Show, Ellen, Oprah, USA Today, Rolling Stone, People, and much more became part of my normal life. The Internet is a great thing.
After the initial success of the first dance, I knew that I wanted to do another one and began to figure out what I wanted to do. 6 months later, I had a working list of songs and began to wade through the world of song rights. It took almost 2 years to secure the rights to enough songs to have a working mix. For more info on the "evolution" of EOD2 check out the FAQ section here.
The goal of "The Evolution of Dance" is simple. One, it is supposed to make you laugh, and laughter is good. Two, it is a representation that "Life is Change." Every one of those songs was the song to dance to at one point and time, but life is change and new songs are always coming out. You can still enjoy the old, but if you focus on nothing but the old -- well, you'll be left in the past. One must adapt and always be ready for new things to come along.
-- Judson Laipply