New Edition performs at Oracle Arena on Saturday, June 23. It's a significantly larger venue than the group's last local appearance at the Paramount Theatre in 2007. And with that capacity increase comes a whole lot more folks who will know the key New Edition dance steps that will still be flawlessly bounding across the stage more than thirty years into this group's career.
However, it could be embarrassing if you're there and don't know this crucial choreography. If you panic, keep the group's basic Motown dance philosophy in mind, and just try illustrating all the lyrics with your hands and feet. If you really want to avoid a panic, though, allow us to be your Debbie Allen for a moment. Master these classic New Edition dance moves, and you'll fit right in on Saturday night.
"Cool It Now"
Skill level: Beginner
Bust a move: This one's very easy and loose, no measured steps to memorize unless you want to go full out and learn Bobby Brown's honky tonk-esque elbow swinging. All you really need is a pair of jazz hands and a willingness to point excessively, with a special emphasis on both during the second rap interlude. Oh yeah, and bring a basketball.
"Mr. Telephone Man"
Skill level: Intermediate
Bust a move: Get ready to make an imaginary phone call during the chorus -- but there's a big catch. You've got to hold up your faux phone while essentially balancing on crossed legs. Note: This is not suitable for those with vertigo or inner ear imbalances, or for those who are pregnant or nursing.
"If It Isn't Love"
Skill level: Advanced
Bust a move: It could take a lifetime to master this precisely choreographed song. There's lots of simulated flying, and that alone could take years. Again, it's best to focus on the steps during the chorus, because that's when they bring the point of the song all home with their hips. Shake 'em back and forth while making stop signs with your hands, then shimmy with your imaginary salt and pepper shakers and admit you have absolutely no idea what you're doing.
All six performers who have been part of New Edition, including the elusive Bobby Brown, are expected in Oakland this weekend. So the least you can do is brush up on your dance moves to welcome them back to the Bay Area.