GROWING UP, MY FAVORITE PART OF any middle school sleepover was when my friends and I, hyped up on Kool-Aid Jammers and the thrilling absence of a bedtime would inevitably choreograph a dance routine to whatever song we were obsessed with that month. It was almost always Britney Spears, and—having been enrolled in nearly every genre of dance class up through my adolescence coupled with my natural inclination toward bossiness—I almost always defaulted to lead choreographer.
I was a bit of a drill sergeant, relentlessly running through steps to the point of exhaustion. I acutely remember the frustration of nearly nailing a routine only to have someone miss a beat, requiring 12-year-old me to shout something like “RUN IT AGAIN!” after racing to the boombox to rewind the song. In the end, we would get it—I’d make damn sure we got it—and we’d rope somebody’s little brother into recording it all on the Sony Mini camcorder one of us got for Christmas that year, though we’d never watch the tape.