The DDN Experience

DDN stands for Desi Dance Network. It’s essentially a network of practically every single Desi dance team across colleges/universities in the U.S. They are all student led and student run, and compete against one another.

Last weekend, I went on a spontaneous girls trip to North Carolina to watch the final DDN competition. In other words, this competition consisted of 9 of the top-tier college Desi dance teams, who were all trying to win the coveted title of being ‘DDN champions.’

As I sat front row, watching all of these best of the best teams compete, I felt a strong sense of nostalgia back to my pre-college days of being on a competitive fusion dance team. We’d dance until our hearts gave out; we’d scream until we lost our voices; we’d be filled with adrenaline and fell in love with the stage and the audience. I miss it. I miss the thrill and the rush.

The competition, itself, was fire. I was pumped the whole time and was in awe of all the teams.

However, I wasn’t so pumped after the fact. I feel like there’s an insane amount of pedestaling that occurs during these competitions, specifically when it comes to the male-dominant dance teams. Yes, I love men who can dance because it’s just a skill that makes me go crazy. However, I think I moved past the stage of obsessing over the ‘hotness’ of these men because 1) it feeds their ego, 2) it just feels like we’re focusing too much on their appearance rather than their insane dancing skills, and 3) I just don’t like pedestals no more.

It’s really the after party, I think, that made me feel some sort of way. All of these afterparties have an underlying, hidden message: find one of those hot dancers and get with them. Once the make out ends, the two people go back to their people and there’s this giggly, blushing debrief and ‘oh my god, he’s from this team. oh my god, so cool.’

Don’t get me wrong, I will forever be my girlfriends’ #1 cheerleader if she wants me to be and have also gushed over people. But, as I go to more of those parties (and might I even say, as I get older) I don’t necessarily want to go to these parties for the sole purpose of placing men on pedestals based merely on their appearance and dancing skills. I’m 21, but feel like I’m entering my 30s as I typed that statement.

It’s just that idea of pedestaling people that has been bothering me about this whole concept of being a ‘DDN dancer/legend.’ We know that DDN teams are extremely talented teams. However, keeping in mind that there’s a difference between being supportive and cheering for them vs obsessively thinking about them, I don’t think there’s a need to fangirl incessantly over their team members and place them on these insane pedestals because that creates……a divide and a power dynamic that should not exist between people. People are people.

I am not by any means trying to be all preachy because I have done and continue to sometimes be an incessant fan girl. But after the DDN experience, I realized that I want to make this shift from pedestaling to just being a supportive queen.

Thanks for tuning into my word vomit. ✌🏽

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