Dancing in the dark for Kings of Leon
Written by Sandi's Ow on December 1, 2013
I love to dance.
I don’t do it well, especially these days, but occasionally it’s fun to get back out on a dance floor.
Since I live in country music central, everyone around here can two-step, a basic and allegedly easy dance where your boots really do scoot.
My husband Kevin and I are part of a huge number of extras with a local casting agency and when they asked for Baby Boomer aged couples to two-step for a music video, we thought, “Hey, this sounds like fun.”
We e-mailed our photos and information to the casting agency and they called us the next day.
We had to drive about 70 miles to Stillwater, OK, home of Oklahoma State University and a truly great bar called Tumbleweeds, which also has an outdoor rodeo arena out back.
We had to bring several outfits, so we dug out our cowboy boots and hats and threw them in the back seat with a few pairs of jeans and a lot of shirts.
When we checked in, we had to sign confidentiality agreements swearing we wouldn’t talk about the fact we were filming a Kings of Leon video for their song “Beautiful War.” We couldn’t talk about how actor Garrett Hedlund (he starred in “Tron: Legacy” and has a small part in the new Coen Brothers movie “Inside Llewyn Davis”) was playing the lead character or what the video was about.
We were hired to dance the two-step and we spent a few pleasant hours getting to know our fellow dancers and waiting for the rest of the cast and crew to arrive.
The costume crew made a whirlwind trip through our holding area and asked me to put on a pink shirt with flowers embroidered on the front, and my husband changed into a black country shirt with a pearl-snap bib front.
We were ready.
They assembled the two-steppers on the dance floor and the director searched his MP3s for a suitable country song. When the music started, it was chaos.
There were as many two-step styles as couples on that floor. Fast, slow, short steps and long ones, folks who could twirl and others who evidently had fibbed a bit about their dance moves.
After a few false starts, they had us dance a few times around the floor to place lighting, block the movements of Garrett and the actors playing his girlfriend and brother.
We also had to avoid the power cords attacked to the mechanical bull which took up about a third of the dance floor.
We had literally two-stepped into an “Urban Cowboy” alternate universe.
It was fascinating to watch the crew work. From the director to the lighting and sound guys to the camera men, this was a first class operation. It was really cool to watch a Steadicam operator do his magic as we avoided him as we danced around and around to the same really annoying country song. (I can’t even tell you what song it was).
What they were looking for was a Saturday night at a local bar where everyone comes to drink a few beers, dance and have a good time.
We were exhausted. When we were given the opportunity to sit, we did, watching other couples circle by again and again.
We got our cardio workout in that Saturday, and I got to do one thing I do very well.
The sound man needed crowd noises and asked us to scream, shout, clap, hoot and holler. I whistled.
Years of playing a flute gave me the ability to whistle loud enough to rattle windows.
In a pause, the sound man looked at my husband and asked if that was his whistle. He shook his head and pointed at me.
I whistled for them several times and while I’m betting the guys in headphones didn’t particularly enjoy the experience, I did.
We left Tumbleweeds well after 9 p.m. after being paid cash for our work and another admonishment to not talk about what we had done that day until the video was released.
That happened Nov. 22 when “Beautiful War” was released on YouTube. I posted it on Facebook and CreakyJoints posted it as well.
We’ve watched it several times and you see a fleeting glimpse of a pink shirt in one scene and that may be it for seeing us, but you can hear me if you listen for that whistle.
It was so cool.