Hobby Feature: Jewell’s own “Dance Dance Revolution” pro

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Elijah Tang-Spigelman, “Dance Dance Revolution” enthusiast. Courtesy of Elijah Tang-Spigelman.

Elijah Tang-Spigelman, sophomore music education major, has a heavy workload and very little free time at William Jewell College. When he needs a break from schoolwork, however, he turns to his favorite hobby – “Dance Dance Revolution.” The arcade game is one many have dabbled in, but few have mastered. The game requires players to time their steps on a mat in coordination with arrows presented on a screen. The step-movements are commonly synced to music either from Japanese pop culture or, less typically, American pop music. 

Elijah’s favorite song selection is “District 1” from the Pump It arcade dance programs. He noted that “1949” is the most challenging song to complete and only one champion has ever finished the round perfectly. Players move quickly and efficiently to succeed at a level – some even get on their hands and knees. It is no wonder that “Dance Dance Revolution” can be categorized as exercise — there is a lot of physical and mental training that goes into becoming an accomplished player.

Ideally, Elijah spends six to eight hours a week playing “Dance Dance Revolution.” All of those hours in an arcade can add up to quite the expense report. He estimates that each hour of Dance Dance entertainment costs $10. To some, $80 a week may seem like a lot, but when you consider that a complete setup of one of these arcade games costs upwards of $5,000 it makes sense.

There are things Elijah does to alleviate the burden of his expensive hobby. For example, he has a portable mat to dance on that he rolls out whenever he needs a dance break. These portable mats cost around $30 – but they are only for single-player mode. When Elijah wants to dance with his friends, they head to the arcade.

Elijah playing “Dance Dance Revolution” at an arcade machine. Video courtesy of Elijah.

Elijah enjoys playing with his friends and has a few people he can practice his skills with. However, when he needs the support of fellow Dance Dance Revolution enthusiasts, he turns to a Facebook group of over 200 people. In this community, players can share accomplishments, frustrations and support each other. 

Starting any new hobby is not easy. Even so, Elijah believes that anyone – regardless of musical ability or coordination – can succeed in “Dance Dance Revolution.” He suggests that new players start slow and never push themselves too hard. He advises sticking to enjoyable hobbies, such as he does with “Dance Dance Revolution,” in order to fully appreciate all of the challenges and entertainment life holds.

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