Becoming Beyoncé – My mission to learn the Single Ladies dance

From Thriller to the YMCA and that unfortunately unforgettable ’90s one-hit-woe – Macarena – music videos have been inspiring people to learn dance sequences for generations. There’s something uniquely liberating about piecing together a few moves in your lounge room with friends, then flash mobbing the dance floor with a perfectly synchronised routine when the DJ plays that song.

But there’s a long way between Nut Bush-style square dances and the choreography in the clip to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).
It’s got to be one of the most insanely intricate and sexy routines in the history of pop music, yet I’m willing to bet every woman has at least considered cancelling Friday night’s plans to hibernate in her bedroom with YouTube and nut out a few steps.

Just as Dirty Dancing made every woman wish she could achieve “the lift”, Single Ladies stirs a very primordial desire in women to… well… become Beyoncé – to embrace our inner booty and somehow replicate the singer’s hip manipulations, chest-pops and bottom-slaps wearing nothing but a leotard and high heels.

The problem is: any attempt to recreate the sequence in public would only ever result in laughable parody, Justin Timberlake style, since it seems a prerequisite for pulling off the dance is having incredible pins and lady lumps, not to mention coordination. These minor deterrents will stop most from following through with the fantasy.

But not my sister and I.

We enrolled in a six-lesson-long course at Act Sing Dance studio in Surry Hills in Sydney, run by dance instructor Kaylene Pomona Jones, to learn how to wiggle it just like Beyoncé in the Single Ladies video.

The lessons were gruelling – not only physically, as we discovered muscles in our thighs we never knew we had – but psychologically, as we discovered that our reflections didn’t quite match up with the image of those black-and-white gyrating sex bombs in the clip. It’s hard when you realise your version of the “playboy pose” is more like an I’ve-pinched-a-nerve-in-my-spine squat; or that your hips and torso have about as much manoeuvrability as a solid table top.

Revelations aside, we soon loosened up and did, in the end, bust out a fairly decent version (if I may say) of the dance – bottom slaps and all. Our dance may not be as sexy as Beyoncé’s, but – as is the power of the music video parody – it’s certainly impressive.

Have you ever learnt a dance from a film clip or movie? What dance have you always wanted to learn, and why?


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