I Tried To Recreate Brit's "Sometimes" Dance

by Kristie Rohwedder

There are some challenges I will never be up for. Attempt to eat 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes? Never in a million years. Run the Los Angeles Marathon? I mean, I'd be down to walk it. (OK, I'd be down to walk half of it.) Limit myself to one hour of television a day? Sorry, not going to happen. But there are some challenges that I'm willing to give a shot. One such challenge: try to learn the dance from Britney Spears's "Sometimes" music video.

In May of 1999, the video for "Sometimes" made its Total Request Live debut. The video for the second single off of ...Baby One More Time truly has it all: a beach, a love story, and multiple dance scenes. Clad in all white, 17-year-old Britney Spears and her band of backup dancers perform choreo on a pier throughout the clip. The first time Tween Kristie saw the video, she knew what she had to do: teach herself the dance. And though Tween Kristie was a dancer, there were some parts of the "Sometimes" routine that fell through the cracks of the pier. For starters, Tween Kristie always looked awkward when she did that knee hop move (don't worry, I'll elaborate on that in a bit). Eventually, Tween Kristie gave up.

When I was asked to try to dance along with the video in June of 2015, I accepted the challenge. Sure, it's been over a decade since I've taken a dance class, but I wanted to do right by Tween Kristie. I wanted to learn all of the steps from the "Sometimes" music video once and for all. I would dance along with the music video and absorb each move, like a tutu-wearing sponge. I would try my darndest to figure out that knee hop move.

It did not go well.

Here are 58 thoughts I, a non-dancer, had when I attempted to learn the “Sometimes” dance as a 20-something:

  1. I can’t find the right outfit for this.
  2. Oh, you expect me to dance along with Britney while wearing an old pair of Pink sweatpants and a YMCA t-shirt? Yeah, right.
  3. Where’s my white cropped turtle neck?
  4. What do you mean I don’t have a white cropped turtle neck?
  5. Ugh, I guess my go-to pajamas/workout ensemble will have to do.
  6. OK. Ten seconds in. Choreo is happening.
  7. Oh. Oh, dang.
  8. Dang dang dang.
  9. I can’t get past the 0:14 mark.
  10. This doesn’t bode well.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/06cfd770-f36f-0132-f117-0ed54733f8f5.gif?w=320"/>
  11. I'm supposed to go from full body hair flip right into a slide? Without toppling over? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.
  12. I’ve spent way too much time on this verse.
  13. I've done at least 75 hair flips trying to learn this verse's choreo.
  14. I'm going to throw out my back if I keep doing these hair flips.
  15. For my back's sake, I'm going to put a pin in the first verse and learn it later.
  16. Baby all I need is time to let my whiplashed spine chill out.
  17. In the words of Timbaland, take it to the chorus.
  18. Oh, I can handle this running move:<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/ac04ffe0-f36a-0132-f10c-0ed54733f8f5.gif?w=320"/>
  19. Ah. My nemesis. The knee hop move.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/cd03b700-f36a-0132-f3dd-0e18518aac2f.gif?w=320"/>
  20. I don't know why, but my knee wants to go up when it’s supposed to go down.
  21. I'm slamming my knee into my hand.
  22. Seriously, this knee hop thing is never going to happen.
  23. I physically cannot do this.
  24. Hm, I wish I had backup dancers.
  25. Actually, I guess I really only need one backup dancer.
  26. All of the partnering loses its effect when it’s only me.
  27. Like, this linking of the elbow move? I look like I’m square dancing with a ghost right now.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/fd6d48f0-f36a-0132-f116-0ed54733f8f5.gif?w=320"/>
  28. You know what? I think I know what’s holding me back: I’m not wearing running shoes.
  29. [Runs to bedroom and retrieves gym shoes and puts them on.] OK, I’m ready to do this.
  30. Welp, I actually fell over trying to do this:<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/777196d0-f36b-0132-f117-0ed54733f8f5.gif?w=320"/>
  31. There's over 2 minutes of video left?
  32. I think it’s time I just accept my lack of coordination for what it is. I am not getting any of this.
  33. Actually, no. I’m going to keep trying. I can't let Britney down.
  34. Hey, I got this part down pat on the first try:<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/c829f500-f36b-0132-f3df-0e18518aac2f.gif?w=320"/>
  35. Oh, no.
  36. Oh, no no no no no no.
  37. Not a body roll.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/027420e0-f36c-0132-f3e1-0e18518aac2f.gif?w=320"/>
  38. Never have I ever been able to do a body roll. I'm doomed.
  39. If someone said, “Either do a single body roll or never listen to another Britney Spears song again,” I would be screwed.
  40. Wait, I think I can do this part:<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/386f97c0-f36c-0132-f10c-0ed54733f8f5.gif?w=320"/>
  41. [Flails arms and legs around in front of the mirror.] Ah, nope. False alarm. I cannot do that part. Put a pin in that part, too.
  42. Oh, I like this move:<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/5c9642f0-f36c-0132-f117-0ed54733f8f5.gif?w=320"/>
  43. Ugh, we’re at the chorus again.
  44. I spent many minutes trying to learn the chorus the first time around. I hope it stuck with me. I hope it wasn’t all for naught.
  45. This is a test. I hope I pass.
  46. Ahhhhh, crap. That knee hop move got me again. Right out the gate.
  47. That knee hop move is my kryptonite.
  48. I've failed Britney.
  49. Oh, wait. I’m back! I remembered the “hold you tight” move!!!!!<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/a86bcf50-f36c-0132-44e1-0a2ca390b447.gif?w=320"/>
  50. This is huge. I'm so proud of myself.
  51. I’m not doing any of the footwork or anything, but my arm dancing has improved.
  52. I can totally do prayer hands to the universe.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/cd101320-f36c-0132-f3df-0e18518aac2f.gif?w=320"/>
  53. NAILED THE FINAL “HOLD YOU TIGHT” OF THE VIDEO.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/51/05c884f0-f36d-0132-f3da-0e18518aac2f.gif?w=320"/>
  54. And that’s it. The dancing is done.
  55. I've already forgotten most of what I just did.
  56. Did I actually learn all of the moves? No. But I made to the end.
  57. That counts for something, right?
  58. Right.

Sometimes I run, sometimes I hide, sometimes I'm scared of that knee hop move:

Images: Ron Wolfson/WireImage; BritneySpearsVEVO, Predrag Mihajlović (12)/YouTube; Kristie Rohwedder/Bustle (12)