As December rolls around, I develop mixed emotions. The entire month is just one big jumble, filled with intensifying fear of holiday-related candy cane sweaters, the excitement of the never-ending 30% off sales at Banana Republic, and decadent beverages spiced with pumpkin, cinnamon, and rum. December’s also home to the most potentially cringe-worthy of events: the office holiday party.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that office parties suck. For the most part, the ones that I’ve attended in the past have soared way past my expectations. But attending an office party creates anxieties and concerns that wouldn’t normally arise at a regular, run-of-the-mill, friends/acquaintances/have-we-met-before-in-a-darkened-broom-closet soiree. Like:

  • How much cleavage would take me from everyday fodder to water cooler chatter and then to “note in my permanent file”?
  • May I bring my 4-month-old twins to the party? And if so, where can I get a rhinestone-encrusted BabyBjorn to match my dress?
  • Should I wear my Kardashian (c) Tuchus Enhancer with Spanx or without?
  • If I’m also a client, can I expense my no-host drinks?
  • To hug or not to hug? Can’t we all just shake hands?
  • But most importantly… should I dance? Or stand behind that giant fake planter in the corner and swig my hot toddy in peace?

That last one, in my eyes, is really the most important: how to move, either on the dance floor or throughout the party, and feel comfortable with yourself without going to extremes.

Working with your colleagues under intense deadlines, fixing the does-it-ever-f%&@ing-work-i-don’t-think-so printer, taking highly detailed notes on a notepad (yes, some of us still do that), making presentations to 200 people who are all muted on WebEx: we brush things like this off as “easy” everyday tasks that help us make our employers flourish and succeed.

But socializing with people you mostly know from the elevator or the office cafe while standing in a dimly lit room accompanied in the background by the throaty warbles of Lady Gaga–now THAT is work.

Top Dance Tips for Your Office Holiday Party

  1. Finish your drinks before you take to the dance floor. Do not make it rain on everyone else’s parade.
  2. Keep an eye on those around you. If space is tight, keep your arms close to you. Don’t YMCA your arms out wide and send someone scrambling to the emergency room. Or if you do, make sure they’re on the company’s health insurance policy first.
  3. Add a little bounce to your step and let go (a little, not a lot). Step side-to-side, twirl a friend, shake your hips, and at those opportune moments, dip your partner. Feel free to be spontaneous. But don’t whip out the big guns. You know, like the running man, the worm, or any kind of crotch grabbing. Save those for lighthearted events with your very close friends and family.
  4. Don’t feel forced into that Miami Sound Machine-led conga line. If you don’t want to touch your coworkers, you don’t have to! Just step back and say, “I’m going to sit this one out.”
  5. Depending on where you work, popping and locking might be a welcome addition, but I guarantee you that the lambada won’t be. Leave your forbidden dance at home.
  6. Speaking of all things forbidden, should you see a pole draped with holiday pine and holly, do not abuse the holiday pole by whipping out your sunwheel spin.
  7. If you’ve decided that dancing isn’t for you, it’s OK to watch everyone else shake their bon bons. Just don’t point and laugh like an obnoxious jerk or take a bunch of photos and post them to Facebook. Office party time is sacred and should be respected as such.

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the author

Becca Klarin writes about dance. Her first stage role was at the age of four, where she dressed in a brightly colored bumble bee tutu and black patent leather taps shoes. She remembers bright lights and spinning in circles with her eleven other bees, but nothing more. Becca also has an affinity for things beginning with the letter "P", including Pizzetta 211, Fort Point, pilates, parsvakonasana, and plies.

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