Carrie Steckl earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a Minor in Gerontology from Indiana University – Bloomington in 2001. She has spent over ...Read More
If only the 610 Stompers existed in Jupiter, Florida – if they did, my dad would be a star member. Except for the fact that there are no stars in the real 610 Stompers, and that’s part of this everyman’s dance troupe’s beauty.
I first read about the 610 Stompers on Fat Tuesday, because this group is based in New Orleans and performs for the masses during Mardi Gras. It originated in 2009 on the premise that dancing is for everyone – even if you’re an average, middle-aged dude with a beer belly and a receding hairline. And that should be celebrated.
The group gets its name from the Superdome section where one of the troupe’s leaders has season tickets to see the New Orleans Saints. Several times a year, the group of approximately 115 men performs at halftime shows, parades, and charity events. Their attire? Shorts, tube socks, t-shirts and terry cloth headbands, of course. Everyman clothing.
Why do I love these guys? Because they teach us some important lessons about how to live well. Here’s what I mean:
They are humble. As I mentioned earlier, there is no hierarchy of stars here. Each member is valued as an “ordinary man with extraordinary moves” (the group’s official motto). They don’t try to be something they’re not.
They exercise. Dancing is one of the best forms of exercise around. It enhances physical, mental, and social aspects of wellness all at once.
They are inclusive. The troupe includes members of a wide range of ages, dance styles, and backgrounds. Each man brings something special to the group and receives a dance name at the annual banquet.
They are joyful. These guys clearly are having fun doing what they do. How can that not be good for one’s well-being?
They bring joy to others. I’ve written before about generativity, or the act of giving to others as a way of leaving a legacy. In the case of the 610 Stompers, the gift being paid forward is that of happiness. When you can make others smile, groove, and even join you in the dancing, you are leaving a legacy that shines.
So thank you, 610 Stompers, for teaching us a few things about how to live well. For more enjoyable details about the 610 Stompers, see Neela Banerjee’s terrific article in the Los Angeles Times. And take a moment today to dance – however you want, wherever you choose, and to whatever music you dig the most. I’m pretty sure the 610 Stompers would approve.
Banerjee, N. (March 4, 2014). Camaraderie, goofy moves fire up dance troupe. Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-c1-mardi-gras-610-stompers-20140304-dto,0,7513620.htmlstory#axzz2v2K1lfJO