Full disclosure: I spent the better part of the ’90s as the “Club Scout” nightlife columnist for the Dallas Morning News. After more than 10 years (and then some in New York) of those blurry evenings out, I’ve weaned myself off dance venues, preferring intimate bars or evenings in with my now 7-year-old son. That is, until I discovered “Disco Kids” at It’ll Do.
The event, hosted twice a month by kiddie party promoter Alicia Duncan, manages to be a training ground for a new generation of nightlife denizens and a fun evening out for Mom and Dad. Toddlers crawl around merrily on the club’s Saturday Night Fever-style floor or shop for ring pops, juice boxes and glowing jewelry at the club’s kiosk. Tweens lip-sync and gossip with their friends on the side lines, while parents sample fare from food trucks in the parking lot or stand by the bar, grateful for a cocktail at the end of a long day.
“It’s really rad,” exclaims 5-year-old Miles Marcell. “I like the lights, the music and the glow sticks!”
Clad in a baseball cap and Misfits T-shirt, 5-year-old Miles Marcell spends his night at Disco Kids alternating between pogoing and pouting. “It’s really rad,” he exclaims. “I like the lights, the music and the glow sticks!”
“I like how it’s not just adults everywhere” says 13-year-old Lake Highlands student Allie Lewis. “You get the feeling you can dance and no one will judge you. I like seeing little babies breakdancing, ’cause it makes me want to dance harder!”
Appealing to so many generations is no easy feat. Similar iterations — such as the touring “Baby Loves Disco” party — manage to grab the pre-K set, but no one in middle school would be caught dead on their dance floor. Duncan says she discovered the need for such an event after hosting her 7-year-son Aydin’s annual birthday party at the club, which is owned by her longtime friend and employer, Brooke Humphries.
“Aside from working for Brooke, I have my own event planning business called Tada!, and this year my son wanted a breakdance birthday party,” Duncan says. “I had the keys to It’ll Do, so we had it there, and there was such an amazing turnout. I had friends whose kids didn’t even know him ask to come because they just wanted to go to the party!”
Disco Kids made its public debut in June, and the third iteration launches Friday, July 26, at 5:30 pm. Each party features a mix of old-school hits from Madonna, Devo and the Beastie Boys alongside Disney channel favorites and top 40 tunes. The truth is, we can train our children to like David Bowie, but they’re still going to rush to the floor like mice to cheese when the DJ plays “Gangnam Style.”
The allure of this event for the older generation isn’t just allowing the kids to get their yayas out in a fun, controlled environment. There’s also the unexpected benefit of running into old friends and acquaintances that colonized the Deep Ellum club scene back in the day.
Curtis Eilbacher — who exhibited his work in watering holes such as Elm Street Bar, July Alley and Bar of Soap — finds Disco Kids to be the launching pad for “the second generation of club kids.”
“I’ve known all these people since I was 18 years old, and we’re all one big family. Now that we’re all adults, sharing this experience in a safe environment is very positive. Plus I went out for so long, the selling point for me is it ends at 9:30!”
Former Club Clearview art director Clay Austin, with his toddler son, Ryker in tow, says the evening “brings back a lot of memories. I have to admit I’m kind oaf excited to bring my son here. I had a Jack and Coke and he had a water, and we’ll both be sleeping well after this.”
Duncan plans to expand the event in the coming months, with a second North Dallas location and guest DJs in their early teens spinning alongside the adults. She’ll also limit the party to once a month when school begins so “it doesn’t get stale.” However Disco Kids grows or changes, it’s already clear it’s one of the best evenings out in Big D.
“I’ve had more parents come up to me to say ‘Thank you so much for doing this.’ It’s a night where literally everybody is having fun,” she says.
The next Disco Kids occurs Friday, July 26, 5:30-9:30 pm. Cover is $5 per child, and parents are free when accompanied by a child.