monday music fix:
the name game

Sometime in the sixties, a singer named Shirley Ellis came out with this children's rhyme also known as "The Banana Song".

In the '80s it was repopularized by Laura Branigan as a pop song called The Name Game. It became a dance anthem of sorts; it probably became a hit because the toddlers who rocked to Shirley Ellis in the 60's were the yuppies who populated discos and bistros at that time.

It was 1987 ; I was age 9 and in fourth grade. It seemed like every grade school class that year danced The Name Game at their special events. The choreography was always the same - it was easy to memorize, since that song-and-dance number was an ubiquitous fixture at every variety show.

I alas, was one of those who danced to The Name Game at the Young Artist Club Christmas Party. Oh, how hellish that was. I and a few classmates of mine aped the choreography we saw danced by Maricel Soriano and Alma Moreno. Seemed simple enough. I had another uber-epal classmate of mine named Karla, who was not part of the dance nor the club, but thought it was her messianic mission to critique us. Well, critique me, most especially, since I had the poorest mind-body coordination and she already hated me anyway since she was good at volleyball and I often ruined the game for the rest of them.

That was when I decided that I probably was not a good dancer. You suck, Karla.

On the day of the party, 0ur group wore poodle skirts and sneakers as our costume. I, more concerned about looking cute than being practical, wore a thick woolen sweater - a big, bright blue one with black-and-white stripes on the cuffs and shoulder pads; I loved it because it was very MTV. It was incidentally a personal sauna bath while I so awkwardly danced the bonana-fana-fos.

In hindsight though, I realize I didn't succeed at looking cute either; I wore my fuzzy blue sweater with a floral pink balloon skirt. OMG. No wonder Karla couldn't stand me.

My sneakers were pale pink ankle-cut ones with pink laces and little star-shaped studs, by the way. They used to be real cool; I loved showing them off to the other girls because those sneakers looked so "teen", not "ten".

After our number, we received a weak but kind applause from the other girls. Our moderator Mrs Soliongco asked us if we were the same group that danced for the kids at the orphanage. That frazzled us a bit because we weren't quite sure what she referred to. Just then this other girl raised her hand and said, "Miss, that was us!", and I remembered what she was talking about - a few weeks back our batch had a field trip, and one of the stops was the White Cross orphanage where we made friends with the toddlers. A handful girls from another section gifted the kids with a dance number - with the same musics and the same steps that we just presented at said Christmas party.

Darn, I still remember those dance steps. I think most kids from the '80s would remember those silly steps - recalling them with either happy childhood memories or nightmarish reminiscence like the ones I have.
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