So… the dance field trip that I went on last weekend turned out to be bizarre. There was this dance party scheduled on the second floor of a building that was near the place we went to get ice cream after every Friday night dance over the summer. I had found out earlier in the day that this was actually an after-Valentine’s Day dance for singles, which initially sounded like a good way for me to find a hot date, except that it turned out that it was for singles over 40, so I was really on the young side in that room when I wandered away from the people I went with.
There were a few random people that attended this party with us who don’t usually go on dance field trips with the rest of us. The Heartbreak Kid had invited Amazon to come along, so we met up with her when we got to the venue. I had invited the cleaning crew to come along on our trip. They work so hard making sure that the dance halls we compete in are safe, sterile and clean, I thought that they deserved to come out and party with us this time. They don’t really know much about dancing, but they made up for that with their zeal. Sparkledancer had also brought along a guy named Mister whom she had met recently during some carousing around the city. They started talking because he had taken up ballroom dancing a few months ago at the Southern Gem Dance Hall, and was even going to be competing as a newcomer at a big competition that is going on soon a bit north of our usual stomping grounds. He was a really nice guy to talk to, but I think being around all of us from the Land of the Loft made him nervous. It took several strong drinks before he finally said he was ready to take someone out to the dance floor. I tried my best to encourage him throughout the night, letting him know whether the song playing was a Cha-Cha, Jive, Hustle or East Coast Swing. It was nice having an extra guy around to help dance with all the women who are in our group, so I wanted to help however I could.
This dance was held on the second floor, as I said. There was one entrance that everyone poured in from, a few tables set up around the outside of the room, and a big space cleared on the far side from the entrance to be used as a dance floor. The floor was crazy – even wearing street shoes (because I never feel good about bringing my actual dance shoes into a bar that may have sticky floors), you could slide around all over the place. The floor was so slippery that at times I had the girl I was dancing with grab my arms tightly during some turns because she was losing her footing. No one fell, thankfully, but I imagine it was kind of like dancing on a frozen lake – and not in that currently in vogue ice-dancing kind of way, but in the crazy test-of-personal-agility kind of way. As the night wore on, and presumably more of the attendees had more to drink, the dance floor became crowded, but the majority of the people who came upstairs stayed in a large mesh that encircled the dance floor, and they all stood around and watched everything.
The craziest thing that happened to me all night came when, at some point during the evening after working up a sweat dancing, I decided to stop and get a glass of water. The establishment had lovingly provided a self-serve container and some glasses on a table against the wall, so I wandered over there by myself to get some. As I was filling up a glass, this very drunk older woman came over and started talking to me. At first it was pretty innocent… she was swaying around and stumbling through some of her words as her friends stood nearby and laughed. Then she grabbed hold of my arm to steady herself, and that’s when everything started going downhill. See, I have this habit of tensing up whenever people grab me unexpectedly, and when I did that, her eyes went all big, and then she started massaging my bicep. She asked me how old I was, and when I told her she started saying that she was old enough to be my mother and that it was crazy for me to come hang out at a party like this. Waving over her friends, she told them they should all grab me as well. As I was squirming under the unexpected attention, Sparkledancer came over. She had seen what was going on from where she had been standing, and I thought she was coming to help by giving me an excuse to wander away, but she started talking with my new “friend” and told her that I was a great dancer, and that we should go out to the dance floor together. Sighing, I handed Sparkledancer my water glass and thanked her for finding me a date (sarcastically, of course), and the tried to lead the woman out to the dance floor. She ran into several people just trying to follow me, so I walked behind her with my hand on her shoulder to steer her out to an area of the dance floor where there was lots of open space to avoid other dancers.
The song currently playing was a Jive, so I started to move and thought that the woman would just allow me to whirl her around for the remainder of the song. How wrong I was. What ended up happening was she spent her time mercilessly groping me. Everywhere (and I mean everywhere). I tried to hang on to her hand while dancing, so that I could prevent her from grabbing me and also lead her through some turns, but she didn’t want to be lead and kept pulling away. For some reason, she really liked moving behind me and either grabbing my butt, or wrapping her arms around my waist and sliding her hands all over… well, I’m sure you get the idea. After the second time she tried to pull that trick on me, I switched over to dancing around her, keeping her at least arms-length for safety. When the song finished up, she was laughing and hugging me, and I could see all the people I had come to the party with across the room also laughing at me. My face must have been bright red – it certainly felt like it was. I led her back to where I originally found her and then ducked into the crowd as quickly as I could.
These are the things I get into while practicing to be a competitive dancer. I’m just living the dream, aren’t I?
With the snow last week shutting down everything (yes, I know… we here in the south can’t handle a few inches of snow), classes this week are moving a bit more rapidly to make up for lost time. We also have Arcee hanging out with us at the Land of the Loft right now. As Tall Steven is busy already winning over the hearts and minds of the peasants in a new land for the King, Arcee is training with Lady Q and Lord Fabulous to battle alongside Tall Steven. That was kind of a surprise to me – I didn’t spend a lot of time hanging out at the Great Dance Hall, but every time I was there she was always around. I guess I always assumed that she was already trained as a Lady of the Dance Kingdom, but she was really only Tall Steven’s competitive partner. I would see her at the dance competitions I would compete in, and usually you could find her maintaining the on-deck line for each heat, so you can see why I thought she was a member of the nobility. Because of her competitive experience she knows the female parts for all the dance styles, so now she is taking a crash course in the male part. Based on what I’ve seen in the last few days, I don’t think it will take her long to know the lead better than I do.
Arcee has this air of intimidating intensity about her while she is practicing off to the side of the room. Watching her makes me wonder if I sometimes give off the same vibe when new dancers see me doing things at the studio while they are there. I don’t think I am all that good, having not yet completed the Bronze-level syllabus, but to a newcomer do I look just as serious and intimidating? I don’t want them to be afraid of me. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in their shoes, so I can still relate to them. Maybe I’ll have to do a poll at the end of the next newcomer class that I show up in the middle of, to see how they view me. For scientific purposes, of course.