Welcome to a new year! I started mine off dancing, as you probably all guessed. Let’s think back on everything that has changed over the last year. It has been a crazy year for dancing – it’s really taken over most aspects of my life in the last year. There has been noticeable improvement in what I’m capable of in that period of time as well. Looking back, at the beginning of the year last year I was training for my first dance performance. I had been talked into doing a showcase dance, and Sir Steven spent four months teaching one routine and all the technique that went with it. That performance made me pretty nervous, having never done anything like that before. Fast forward to the last competition I did this past September, and in the four months preceding it I learned fifteen different routines and performed without any trepidation. In the months since that performance, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the International Standard and International Latin dance styles that were not a part of my repertoire before. And all that is not even taking into consideration the more eclectic parts of dance from this last year, like the sheer number of Lego Minifigures I have collected because of dancing… If this coming year I am able to advance at the same pace I went over the course of the last year, who knows what I will be capable of as 2015 rolls around!
I’m not one for written speculation though, so let’s talk about stuff that actually happened recently. The last weekend we had at the Land of the Loft was rather quiet. With so many people gone, it’s so much quieter than I’m used to, so I’m really hoping that a new year will bring with it lots of new dance partners. Lady Q went home to visit family, so the only one left to teach any of the classes or private lessons was Lord Fabulous. Young Dave did finally come back from his strange illness to join us for the weekend before taking another holiday break. He had been missing since right after the Halloween party, so it’s been a while for him. Friday night, with such a small crowd, we all had a group class before the social dance that was really a precursor to the International Waltz class that the more advanced students will be doing on Fridays in January, allowing us to get some of the simple things out of the way without taking any time during the month. At the end of class, Lord Fabulous held a contest to see which combination of participants could travel the farthest using only one set of rotating diagonals. Sparkledancer and I won that handily, but not because we have had the most practice dancing together. We were actually the tallest people there out of the men and women, so together we had the longest reach. When I danced with any of the other women, since their heads only come up to the top of my shoulders, I was handicapped by how far their legs would travel. Lord Fabulous said he wanted to add various other contests throughout our Waltz month, and by the end the highest score from both men and women would get some kind of prize. I’ve already got one point, so I’m in the lead. Yay me!
The big thing from this last week though was the New Year’s Eve dance field trip that a bunch of us went to, which was a lot of fun. I was a little disappointed that they had arranged large tables all around the outside of the floor, which significantly cut the amount of floor space available. Don’t get me wrong, the floor in the building we were in was still pretty huge, but there was a good ten to fifteen feet knocked off three of the sides. The organizers of the event had said that they were going to try and keep the number of men and women attending fairly equal, but there were still significantly more women than men wandering around. In our little corner of about fifteen Dance Kingdom people, there were only four guys if you include me, so I was lucky I was able to sit out every so often and catch my breath.
About an hour in to the party, I spotted a girl up by the front of the room that was standing all alone, watching the people dance. For about half an hour I kept seeing her there every time I looked in that direction. Occasionally she would be asked to dance by someone, but when the song finished she always returned to the same place. Not wanting anyone to be left out at a party, I mentioned something to some of the girls at our table, and they went over and convinced her to come join us in our little corner of mischief. I asked her to dance with me a couple of times that night. The first time we did a Foxtrot together. I kept it simple so that I could talk with her and figure out her story. The girl, who we’ll call Indiana, was from out of town visiting family for the holidays. Apparently she had heard about this dance party and was really excited to come see what it was all about. Her family was originally going to come with her, but they ended up ditching her for the night for some other gathering. I felt sad for her, so I told her that all of the people who were with me from the Dance Kingdom would adopt her for the night. She also told me that she was thinking about moving to the area, and had been looking around over the holiday break to see if she liked it. Being a transplant to the Charlotte area myself, I told her that it was a great place and that if she moved to town, she could always come out on dance field trips with all of us to visit places around the city.
I made sure to tell the other guys with me her story so that they would take her out to dance as well, and occasionally a few other random guys would come by our table and pick her out from amongst the crowd of women we had in our corner. Surprisingly though, later in the evening the DJ was making some announcements and near the end called out to Indiana and asked her to stand up so everyone could see her. The DJ explained that Indiana was actually a dance instructor visiting from out of town, and that she was looking to move here in February and start renting some floor space to teach lessons. Suddenly, it was like her dance card was always full. When I got a chance later in the evening, I asked her out for another Foxtrot so that I could redo my previous attempt with her so that it wasn’t so basic. I didn’t want her to think I was a bad dancer. Dancing with instructors always makes me nervous, because I always think they are judging what I am doing. It’s one thing for me to dance basic steps for a whole song with Lady Q so that we can just talk, because she knows what else I am capable of. I didn’t want Indiana to think that I was bad at Foxtrot just because I wanted to talk with her.
Otherwise, it was a great way to end the year. With a whole bunch of people from the Dance Kingdom all around me, we danced a lot (and sweat a lot) and laughed a lot right up to the end. When the year was finally over and the new year began, the DJ put on a few too many remixes of Auld Lang Syne and we all just stood around talking for a while. After about the fifth version, we went back to dancing again as people started to slowly pack up and leave. Sparkledancer and I tried to go out for the last Viennese Waltz they played of the evening, but it was well after midnight and we were exhausted so we didn’t make it all the way through the song before quitting. With Viennese Waltz, I feel it is better to quit than to slow down and become a road hazard.
Having New Year’s Day off was a nice break to stay home and rest my legs, but now it’s time to jump right back into things. There’s no rest on this journey through the Dance Kingdom. Tonight we all joined Hot Tottie for a new month where he is teaching Rumba. Will 2014 be as eventful as 2013 was? I can’t wait to find out! Be sure to come back next week, and I’ll continue to regale you with many more dance-related stories!