Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Nobody’s dancing queen

Dancing continues to be a popular activity for Westerners and financially-secure, urban Mongolians alike. My week and a half back in Mongolia has included as many clubs, but many more surprises, as most of my summer.
After a successful disco run the night after I returned, I was feeling pretty confident when I invited my Mongolian friend to come out dancing with my roommates and me last Friday. My friend is on vacation and had asked me several times during the week if I wanted to go dancing. The nightlife in UB doesn’t seem to slow down for anything as insignificant as a work or school night, but each time I turned her down, blaming my early hours at the office the next day. Friday seemed like the perfect night to set things right, but an unfortunate series of events kept dancing at a minimum. The clubs I’ve wound up at since my return have put much more focus on, er, passive entertainment than any of the clubs I frequented with the rest of the Pitt crew, and to my dismay, that entertainment sometimes occupies the entire dance floor for long periods of time.
Feeling kind of guilty that our dancing night involved so much sitting and so little dancing, I decided it was time to suck it up and head out on a weeknight. My friend and I met up, had a few drinks, and headed out for the disco at the seemingly reasonable hour of 10 p.m.
At least, it seemed reasonable until we entered the disco. Aside from a few couples sharing intimate drinks in the darker corners of the club, the room was empty. Especially the dance floor. We sat with beers for a little while, hoping the crowd was on the way. Then I broke down.
I had promised my friend a night of dancing and, by gosh, no personal dignity was going to stand in the way of our goal. I headed out to the empty dance floor, closed my eyes and started dancing. Whether she was inspired by my gusto or moved to pity, my friend quickly joined me, and the two of us proceeded to fill the otherwise empty dance floor for the next hour. A few people came and went, but we never wavered. The club’s floor might face empty nights the rest of this work week, but we didn’t let it go bare on Tuesday.
By the time we left, a little after midnight, things were getting pretty hopping. I guess I’ll have to head out later next time I want some dancing action on a weeknight. All things considered, though, I think I’m okay with an empty floor. It’s easier to be the dancing queen when you don’t have competition.