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A cup of KOFY

Sunday nightI turned on the TV and came across something so spectacular that it almost made me forget to tune into Downton Abbey  and I had to share it with you.

Folks, it was the KOFY Dance Party.

I’m sure you are familiar with American Bandstand and my personal favorite, Soul Train, but I remember in the eighties a local dance show in Philadelphia where I grew up that came on after school, where you could watch cool teens with great hair and outfits dance to the top 40. One of the girls in my French class was on there regularly and I thought she was so cool.  She had permed her blonde hair and wore frosted pink lip gloss every day.  I thought she was pretty awesome. And I was particularly impressed when she dressed up as a bag of jelly beans for the Halloween episode but her dancing was pretty much just jumping up and down.  I never went on, but I did enjoy watching it!

Maybe that is why the KOFY Dance Party hit a sweet spot in my heart and made me stare mesmerized at the dance party for a good 45 minutes in awe.  I remember reading about it a few years ago and was planning on going with some friends, but we never got around to it. And I’ve even seen videos on  YouTube of it, but to see it in its full hour glory is pretty darn awesome.

But we need to start at the beginning in the 80s when the show looked like this:

Pretty rad, right?  Alas, not everyone thought so when this video was first posted in 2009 on YouTube.  One comment about the video was, “Why has the bay area allowed this catastrophe??? It’s like special olympics for Soul Train.” Different Strokes, Different folks…

The KOFY Dance Party launched in the 80s with much local fanfare to the delight to the local teens and young adults who boogied across that dance floor in all their early eighties splendor.

In the nineties it changed to fifties nostalgia dancing (which I would have loved) and then withered away, ground out by grunge.

But a few years ago KOFY got its groove back on and focused on 80s music and found a whole new following and now have lines of folks around the building waiting for their chance to grace the stage.

And the mix of dancers is wonderfully San Francisco–a healthy helping of hipsters, but just random nutty folks that love to dance.  And to watch them dance can’t help but make your feet itchy and have you singing along with the song.

I’m kinda loving the host and the way he kinda channels Don Cornelius.

The dance floor has pretty much remained in its low budget glory–which I think is kinda part of its charm. Pretty rad, right?

And boy do they get into it! With eighties outfits galore. Every girl can be Cyndi Lauper and every boy can be Will Smith.  Of course to truly enjoy it, you must watch them dance… Oh yes…

KOFY is still bring the dance party into Bay Area folk’s living room with so much joy that you can help but move the coffee table and do your best moon walk!

Did you grow up with a local dance show? Were you ever ON a dance party show?

 

 

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10 Responses

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  1. Jody says

    I had SUCH a fantasy of going there for my birthday last year, with a group of friends all wearing the black-and-white sweater dresses from Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. But alas, they weren’t filming that month. Sigh.

    • Dottie says

      I would have so loved to be part of that! FIE! It is a good fantasy to say the least.

  2. Elisa says

    I grew up watching KOFY dance party! I was never on it but had a friend whose parents usually showed up on the ’50s themed one in the ’80s. So glad they brought it back!

    • Dottie says

      I love that you actually watched it back in the day! And I heard they were amazing dancers for the fifties them ones. So jealous to even know someone who is on it.

  3. Cara says

    Oh YES. In Canada we had “Electric Circus”. Which was mostly Toronto, but aired nationally Friday nights on muchmusic (before we had MTV we had “muchmusic” –now we have both and they are both terrible/not what they once were..) so everyone got to see people preening for the camera. It was kind of a random mash up of regular folks all tarted up as well as some more professional dancers (though for the most part “regular folks were just stuck outside dancing on the street/looking in). They would also periodically take it on “tour” to different towns. It was around through the 90′s and early 2000′s for the most part and I think they actually tried to revive it recently to no avail.
    check it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3PWT53_hdQ

    • Dottie says

      OMG! Cara! That video is AMAZING! And even the name, Electric Circus is just genius.

      I love that “preening for the camera reference”! Perfect!

  4. Moe says

    I have been furiously monitoring the FB page to see when they shoot the next batch of episodes. We gotta grab Karen and some of the Dames and Pin Pals and make a pilgrimage! I grew up in the area and have watched this show for as long as I can remember. And the 50s throwback years were kind of wonderful (and bad). It was very much the 80s interpretation of the 50s in soem ways, but there were also lots of older couples who could SERIOUSLY cut a rug and so clearly delighted in the timewarp back to their salad days. As a young kid, it was probably more than a little influential on me.

    Oh, and I LOVED Soul Train when I was a kid. LIKE CRAZY. It was like church for me. I’d anxiously wait for that train to appear on my tv screen and then I would go into a kind of trance for the duration of the show. I’m pretty sure it’s where my lifelong dream to wear my hair in afro puffs came from.

  5. Dottie says

    Oh girl, it is ON! We totally need to get everyone to go! It will be sublime. And the fact that Barb was on it once already sends CHILLS down my spine. CHILLS!

    And I would have loved to watch the fifties version–it would have been perfection. I lvoe that as a kid you loved time warpy stuff. It explains a lot of your awesomeness.

    Girl, don’t even get me STARTED on Soul Train. Oh, you should have been at my wedding. Because there were some serious Soul Train moments–like when my Dad did his dance, “the Buzzard”. Spectacular!

  6. Laura says

    I shared the first video on facebook before I even finished your post! Thanks for that morning jolt. Can I be transparent and say that a big chunk of yesterday afternoon was spent browsing through 80′s italo dance and new wave on Youtube? I would be in that KOFY line if I wasn’t in Texas ;) We’ve had dance shows but sadly they are all hip hop :(

  7. Eartha says

    I just love everything about this! Nashville has a dance show now on the free public access channel and I hate to say it…but it is SO bad. But sometimes so bad that it’s good. I just stare and giggle. I think they’re all high as kites which makes it better.



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