Local Current Blog

First Avenue hosts ‘I WOULD DANCE 4 YOU,’ for the next generation of Prince fans

Photos by Leslie Plesser for MPR

After thousands of fans gathered Saturday night at First Avenue for a street party and a dance party in memory of Prince, the next generation of much younger fans had their own event the very next morning called “I WOULD DANCE 4 YOU.”

Before doors opened you could feel the buzz of excitement as families anxiously waited in line to get into the sold-out event. Kid-friendly Prince music played as people made their way inside with the movie Finding Nemo projected on the big screen. (The Pixar classic was one of Prince’s favorites to show at Paisley Park, and once Prince even cut a Questlove DJ set short for a Nemo screening.) The party really started when “Let’s Go Crazy” came on and kids and their grown-ups rushed to the dance floor, dancing to the music and tossing purple balloons through the air.

Although this was a kids’ event, at times it seemed like the parents were having the most fun; many were happy to be passing on the music they love to their children.

Julie Manthe of Eagan was excited to bring her four- and six-year-olds with her to the event. She says she listens to Prince at home with her kids and hopes they’ll take away some of the same messages she did.

“Last year when Prince died it was a huge loss for me because I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s in North Dakota so listening to someone like Prince’s music supported who I was, gave me a lot of joy and showed me that there were other places to go in the world,” she said. “I think I want to share some of that with them. I live with in the suburbs and I really want them to know that there’s a big wide world of music out there and it was at Prince’s forefront to make sure that his music was for everybody.”

Diana McKeown of Minneapolis, who says she is a big Prince fan herself, brought her 12-year-old daughter to the event. She first started listening to Prince’s music when she was her daughter’s age and has been coming to shows at First Avenue since she was a teenager.

“I am a huge Prince fan and this was an awesome opportunity to introduce my 12-year-old to First Avenue which is a place I’ve been coming to since I was a teenager,” she said. “I love introducing her to First Avenue because I have a 20-year-old that I introduced to First Avenue as well, so both my daughters have been introduced to this club, which is just a big part of my musical education.”

Even parents who are new to Prince’s music themselves were glad they came to the event. To keep those who weren’t into dancing engaged, the event also had a Prince-themed photo booth and craft table.

John Simmons of Roseville came with his three-year-old daughter. He’s learning about Prince along with her, but enjoyed the event nethertheless.

“It’s great, it’s very kid-friendly and they have a lot of stuff to do,” Simmons said. “I didn’t know very much about him since I’m not from the area originally, but I think since this is where we will be for the foreseeable future, it’s important that she knows a little bit about him.”

Writer Simone Cazares is a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas, majoring in communication and journalism. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene. Leslie Plesser is a photographer based in Minneapolis.