“Interlude” co-creator still encourages the masses to dance

“Interlude” co-creator still encourages the masses to dance

Anna Flanders /
Ian Goldsmith on UNI campus, putting on headphones to DJ

As a wedding and events DJ based out of Atlanta, 2013 UNI alum Ian Goldsmith knows a thing or two about getting people to dance. He believes his degrees in theater and psychology from UNI perfectly positioned him to succeed in this career that spans more than a decade.

“In hindsight, it's kind of funny how something like DJing has become my career because it does tie together both these creative and performative elements that I really cherished in my theater experiences, while also drawing on the science of ‘what makes somebody dance?’ Or, ‘how do I get this group of people to have fun?’ So that definitely ties in my psychology experience as well,” he said.

Goldsmith – alongside friends Tyler Wright and Scott Connerley – have a special place in UNI history as the co-creators of “The Interlude Dance,” a tradition still enjoyed by the Panther community today.

“It is this really neat thing to be part of the ground floor of something that is still part of UNI's culture,” said Goldsmith. “It’s pretty rare to be part of something like that. The shelf life of the dance has already outlived what any of us originally thought it might.”

The origins of the dance begin in UNI’s dorms, where Wright introduced the song to Goldsmith and friends in Campbell Hall. The group soon established six steps of choreography that took off when Goldsmith uploaded an instruction video to YouTube. Pretty soon, excitement about the dance spread beyond UNI, spilling into the community and even to other colleges.  

“I would say that was the biggest ‘wow’ moment when there was a full student section in the McLeod Center, and more than 90% of them were all participating,” said Goldsmith, choosing the occasion over other notable “Interlude” moments, such as when the three UNI students joined then-First Lady Michelle Obama and then-Governor Terry Branstad in the dance at an event in Des Moines. “The Interlude” even went international, with U.S. service members deployed in Afghanistan posting their own rendition of the dance on YouTube.

Ian Goldsmith, Tyler Wright and Scott Connerley in t-shirts that say "Interlude"

Ian Goldsmith leading group of kids and adults, including Michelle Obama, in the Interlude

“I kind of wish I would have drawn a map of all the places where we saw video recordings of people doing it,” he said. 

While Goldsmith was helping create a new UNI tradition, he was also getting his first taste of his future career, as he would informally DJ parties in Campbell Hall and sometimes help curate music for dance parties that happened off campus. His first experience more formally came in 2012 when one of his friends from the UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club got married.

“Before you know it, three or four years later, I was doing several weddings and events a year. Then it was kind of like, ‘Oh, I guess this is my career now.”

Providing the soundtrack to these memorable occasions has brought full-circle moments for Goldsmith. For the last two years, he’s been the featured DJ at UNI’s Homecoming dance party.

“Just being back at UNI always ignites a part of me because a part of my heart will always be in Cedar Falls,” said Goldsmith. “It's fun seeing other students now getting to have similarly good experiences, and helping try to shape that is really cool, even if it's just one night a year at this epic dance party.”

Of course, when Goldsmith returns to UNI campus, he has to play “Interlude” for students.

“I just feel immense gratitude, and I think it's so special that all these years later, it keeps getting new life.”