Historical Events  Music
Safety Dance

You can dance if you want to

 We can dance if we want to

Men without Hats: Safety Dance

The classic '80s song "Safety Dance" by the Candadian Band Men Without Hats is a song that still is a hit with the general public today.

With a catchy melody and memorable lyrics (and dance), it's no wonder the song is still popular 30 years later. However, one of the song's most memorable lines is also one of the most misheard.

The line "We can dance if we want to" is often sung as "You can dance if you want to". While Ivan Doroschuk, the lead singer of Men Without Hats, did sing "You can dance if you want to" at a live show, we're talking about the original recording. And "You can dance if you want to" is nowhere to be heard.

Stop bouncing

The song was written after Ivan was kicked out of a club for pogoing, i.e. dancing by jumping up and down. He was mocking them by their restriction of his freedom of expression, which meant only "gentle, controlled movement" rather than the anti-disco wild thrashing of the pogo.

Ah we can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're are no friends of mine
I say, we can go where we want to, a place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind,
And we can dance

-- Men Without Hats: Safety Dance

The only member of the band in the video is Ivan, and it also shows Morris dancers performing a dance called Monkton Park. It was filmed in a small village in the UK, West Kington, where this kind of dance is traditional in the summer.