“Life isn’t always the party we’d hoped for, but while we are here…might as well dance!”
This quote from YouTube sensation Judson Laipply – the star of “Evolution of Dance,” a video with over 190 million hits – was shared with SRU students Wednesday evening in the University Union MPR, just before Laipply performed his YouTube-famous routine for the Slippery Rock campus.
Before busting out the iconic dance moves within his repertoire, Laipply provided comic relief and motivation to the SRU audience.
“Here’s how to enjoy life as much as possible,” Laipply said. “Whatever you’re stressing about, number one, let it go. Or number two, do something about it. And if that doesn’t work then do number three and shut up and go away.”
Laipply’s motivations spoke of constant change and how people have difficulties with accepting change when things don’t go the way they planned.
“Kids laugh 300-600 times a day,” he said. “And it’s easy to see why, they laugh at everything! They’re like, ‘Look! Ketchup! Hahaha!’ The average adult laughs 7-14 times a day. That’s because we find that a giant stick has been shoved up our butts. And those of you sitting there thinking, ‘Well that’s not very funny.’ That’s because that stick is shoved even further up your butt.”
Laipply said we live in a comparative society where we notice those who have less than us and we want to be like those who have more than us, but this shouldn’t be the case, he said.
“We should think about the things we need to get us to where we want to be,” he said.
Laipply said he had always wanted to be a motivational speaker.
“It was something I knew I would do eventually,” Laipply said. “So while I was in college and graduate school I was speaking and presenting whenever I could. I would have group projects and nobody would want to present, so I did! And I didn’t have to do any of the work. They would just give me all the information and I would present it and we got a good grade.”
Laipply went to Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio for his undergraduate degree in recreation management and to Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio for his graduate degree in education with a specialization in recreation and leisure.
“I studied games to learn how to teach leadership and personal skills,” he said. “As a graduate student, I taught aerobic classes and then became certified to teach aerobics as well.”
Laipply said after graduation he was able to manage a job while also being a motivational speaker.
“I painted houses while making my own hours to also speak on the side,” he said.
Laipply said his idea and inspiration for the “Evolution of Dance” came from laughing at a stand-up comic’s routine.
“I was watching a black comic make fun of white people dancing at a wedding,” he said. “He had this whole bit about how he went to a wedding and he was the only non-white person there, no other ethnicities were there at all. And he said the DJ would play a song and all the guests would get up, go to the dance floor, do the same dance, and then when the song was done they would just drop their arms and all shuffle back to their seats.”
Laipply said after laughing, he got to thinking about how many songs have very specific dances.
“I thought it’d be funny to see some of those dances in a medley and in order,” Laipply said.
He said he then ran to his room and wrote down the first 12 songs that came to mind, bought a mixing program the next day, and thus the “Evolution of Dance” was born.
As far as selecting the songs people would respond most to and would work the best with his routine, Laipply said he had a simple theory.
“If you saw the dance but didn’t hear the music, could you still tell me what song was being played?” he said.
Laipply said there have also been many iconic dances or even songs that do not have the dance to go with it, so he supplied the moves. Among some of these were head nodding and “rock on” symbols, the sprinkler, the shopping cart, starting up the lawn mower, booty shaking, Shakira-esque hip rolling, and current popular favorites such as “Party Rock Anthem,” the “Bernie,” and many more.
Laipply said creating the “Evolution of Dance” was one thing that made him stick out.
“A good friend of mine told me, ‘You are your own product. You have to do something that makes people remember you,’” he said. “I don’t have any distinctive things about me, I’m white and from mid-America. I’m as unmemorable as can be from a personality standpoint, so I came up with the idea for the dance.”
Laipply’s “Evolution of Dance” has been noticed by the Today Show, Oprah, Ellen, Inside Edition, and Tosh.O, as well as Weezer and Barenaked Ladies, who asked Laipply to be a guest or join in on collaborations.
Since his YouTube video took off by storm, Laipply also wrote a motivational self-help book, titled “Might As Well Dance.”
“Life is change,” Laipply said. “And that’s why the ‘Evolution of Dance’ goes so well with speaking about change. The things we do today might not be the things we do tomorrow, so might as well dance!”