Just like anyÂwhere else in the world, the Soviet youngÂsters wanted to socialÂize, to lisÂten to the music and to dance. The nightÂclubs were unheard ofâ€‰â€“â€‰anyÂthing of that kind would have been announced as proÂmotÂing debauchÂery or morally wrong lifestyle habits. So the best one would hope for were the disÂcotheÂquesâ€‰â€“â€‰the speÂcial dance occaÂsions, orgaÂnized by the offiÂcials on a weekly basis. They always had a desÂigÂnated superÂviÂsorâ€‰â€“â€‰a school prinÂciÂpal or a city counÂcil repÂreÂsenÂtaÂtive in charge.
Often enough, espeÂcially in the small cities, these dance events were the only source of enterÂtainÂment. Movies were scarce and arrived in towns infreÂquently; the cirÂcus would visit once a year; and libraries just didnâ€™t doÂ it.
KnowÂing the popÂuÂlarÂity of disÂcotheÂques, the authorÂiÂties also liked using it as the sweet part of the â€œcarÂrot and stickâ€ tanÂdem: for instance, dancÂing would folÂlow some borÂing meetÂing, or a motiÂvaÂtional lecÂture, or some proÂpaÂganda pep talk. LinkÂing the attenÂdance of the lecÂture to the perÂmisÂsion to come out and dance was an easy way to twist arms of the rebelÂliousÂ youth.
A set of rulesâ€‰â€“â€‰how to behave on a disÂcothequeâ€‰â€“â€‰was usuÂally disÂplayed and enforced by the perÂson in charge. For instance, it was sugÂgested that work clothes were not welÂcome, and the outÂfit should be light and comÂfortÂable. The dance moves were sugÂgested to be well-rehearsed as dancÂing â€œfreestyleâ€ was not conÂsidÂered approÂpriÂate. Women were allowed to express disÂconÂtent towards males who would make inapÂproÂpriÂate advances or dance in a wicked manÂner. SmokÂing was proÂhibÂited, but at least there was never a cover charge.
As for the dancÂing â€œapproÂpriÂatelyâ€, it was genÂerÂally accepted that clasÂsic dances (waltz and other slower modÂest moves) were betÂter than tango, foxÂtrot or swingâ€‰â€“â€‰these were more of a â€œdirty WestÂern dancÂingâ€. That was what the crowd would long for, thoughâ€‰â€“â€‰so the dj was allowed to play such a tune once a night, perÂhaps. And, just like anyÂthing forÂbidÂden, it really drove the crowdÂ wild.
The proÂpaÂganda, which was everyÂwhere, stated that in the West peoÂple are so overÂworked, they need their weekly porÂtion of dances to rewind (this was a subÂtle refÂerÂence to â€œSatÂurÂday Night Feverâ€, also banned in the counÂtry). The logic was that in the USSR things were difÂferÂent: peoÂple went out to dance in order to socialÂize, not because their capÂiÂtalÂist bosses tired themÂ out.
Quite the conÂtrary, in the USSR dancÂing was also a part of a harÂmoÂnious develÂopÂment of a perÂson. This notion was very popÂuÂlar with the movie direcÂtors: the workÂing classâ€‰â€“â€‰elecÂtriÂcians, nurses, teachÂers etcâ€‰â€“â€‰go dancÂing because they have too much energy, not to lose themÂselves in music. The latÂter one was conÂsidÂered to be wrong and asoÂcial. It is a nice finÂish for the week, but it is not a desÂperÂate, Travolta-like TGIF, it is an active type of rest and a great deal of culÂtural activity.
Another comÂmon feaÂture of the disÂcotheque pheÂnomÂeÂnon is the same-sex pairs. Oh no, they were not queerâ€‰â€“â€‰it was simÂply due to the shortÂage of men. ForÂtuÂnately for all, there came the baby boom and this tenÂdency almost disÂapÂpeared by the end ofÂ 1960s.
Also, there was the age bar. Firstly, the teenagers were not allowedâ€‰â€“â€‰you would have to be at least 17 to attend. SecÂondly, and this is interÂestÂing, the oldies were not meant to come and danceâ€‰â€“â€‰and by oldies we mean the marÂried lot. It was unheard for a marÂried perÂson to turn up to shake their bootiesâ€‰â€“â€‰it was frowned upon, and thereÂfore there were themed disÂcotheÂques â€œFor those over 30â€, type ofÂ thing.
As for the music, apart from the domesÂtic Soviet bands, the imported stuff from Italy and France was very popÂuÂlar. AdriÂano CelenÂtano, Toto Cutugno, Romina Power and Albano; Charles Aznavour, Joe Dassin, Serge GainsÂborÂough. Not only were they meloÂdiÂous, oh no. Mind you, both the counÂtries had comÂmuÂnism oriÂenÂtaÂtion back then, so it was a mere politÂiÂcal calÂcuÂlaÂtion to approve of their culÂture. But nobody in the USSR mindedâ€‰â€”â€‰these artists are still a big (even though mildly nosÂtalÂgic)Â hit.Please visit the source at RealUSSR.com