Halloween ended with a rolling crash in my neck of the woods (quite literally – during the dance party I went to a thunderstorm started, and it rained pretty heavily most of the evening). There were a couple of options I had heard for things to do on Halloween night, but I ended up heading back to the Electric Dance Hall for their usual bi-weekly Friday dance party which also happened to be going on that night. That’s where most of the dance people I know decided to go, so I went along to spend the evening with them. Since it was Halloween, there were many people who came in costume, but it wasn’t advertised as a costume party so not everyone decided to get dressed up like I did. We began the evening with the last East Coast Swing class of the month. Since there were a lot of people in attendance who hadn’t come to any of the other classes this month, we spent the class reviewing everything that we had covered in the previous weeks so that everyone could catch-all the steps that we had covered. To celebrate the holiday, and to make use of the opportunity to use a costume I had worn a previous year, I was wearing something different for this party than I did to the ones the previous week. This costume wasn’t one that many people who were there recognized, so I got a lot of questions about what I was as we were rotating through partners during the class. There was one particular older lady in class though who didn’t ask me anything about what I was wearing, but instead kept making comments about how ‘adorable’ I was, and kept trying to pinch my cheeks when she got close. I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or if she was just trying to mess with my head. She came in that night wearing a sort-of half mask on her face that looked like a green witches nose, which is what makes me question whether she was just acting the part of her costume.
After the class was over, we danced all night, and we sent Halloween off in style. Now that it’s over, I can start making a list of costumes that I can wear next year to celebrate. That should give me enough time to research the feasibility of making something, and figure out if the costume will allow a full range of motion while dancing. You know, important things to consider when putting together a costume. Also, there is now leftover Halloween candy in my freezer that will last me probably until next Halloween. I don’t eat candy very often, so the couple of random bags that ended up at my house will take a long time to finish. Also, I still have peanut butter eggs from Easter to finish up first, so I won’t even start in on what was just acquired for a while. I am really bad at eating candy…
With the holiday over, we can now start getting back to normal here in the Dance Kingdom (as normal as it gets for a dancer, I suppose).
I was surprised Monday night at who showed up to join the Latin Technique class with us. A couple of weeks back during the same class there was a gentleman that came in to inquire about taking dance lessons. Since Lord Junior was the only teacher at the studio at the time and class had already started, he excused himself to go chat with the man for a minute to see what he wanted. He couldn’t have a really in-depth conversation about his options with all of us working on things, so he invited the guy to sit and watch for a while to get an idea of what went on at the studio. I found out later that we had apparently been impressive enough to watch that the guy bought a whole package of lessons with Lady Detroit after we had left. My actual introduction to this gentleman, whom I will refer to as the Statesman, was during the Halloween party at the Electric Dance Hall two weekends back. Sparkledancer had been talking with him during the party, and had led him around the dance hall to introduce him to everyone and help him feel welcome. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but this past Saturday I was out around town and I happened to run into him. At first I didn’t know who it was – we both looked at each other like we should know the other, but without costumes on it was hard to know for sure where we had met before. Later in the evening it dawned on me where I had seen him, so I went to talk with him to confirm. He told me his story about wanting to dance – he had been married once upon a time, and he and his wife had talked a lot about learning to dance and never actually did anything about it. After he and his wife split, he dated someone for a long time and they also talked about going out to learn to dance, but they never did anything about that either. Now that it’s just him, he wanted to spend some time bettering himself, and one of the first things he did was go out looking for a place to learn how to dance. With only one lesson under his belt, he told me that he had watched people during the Halloween party, particularly Sparkledancer and I when we were screwing around, and he hoped that someday he could dance like that. Sensing that this was my chance to flex my Dance Ambassador muscles, I told him that my dance partner and I usually went to the group classes on Monday nights, and that if he was interested he could come and join us in class. It would be a bit technical for a newcomer I told him, since it was a technique class, but we still tried to have fun during.
And then he totally showed up! Not only that, but after class was over, he was looking at the group class calendar they have on the counter, and he was asking Bony, Sparkledancer and I about the West Coast Swing class on Tuesday night because that sounded interesting to him. Sparkledancer and I gave him a quick demonstration of the difference between East Coast and West Coast Swing, and he totally ended up going to the class Tuesday night as well! We also told him that many of us usually go to the Friday night class (this month is going to be Rumba), so if he wanted to join us for that we would love to have him around. Could my efforts to be a Dance Ambassador actually bear fruit? Well… I’d actually have to take deference to Sparkledancer for this. She was the one who started talking to him at the Halloween party, and I’m sure that did more to make him interested in coming back than anything I did. But with men in short supply in the dance world, the more I can do to help encourage him to stay, the more all the ladies will thank me later, right?
With Sir Steven and Sparkledancer, I have put in a lot of work upgrading our competition routines the last couple of weeks. At this point, we have done most of our work on American Rhythm: East Coast Swing is done, Rumba is set, Cha-Cha we have gone through large sections, and we just started working on Mambo this last Tuesday. Mambo is going to take a bit of work – it’s been so long since I’ve spent any time on (or danced socially) Mambo (or Salsa for that matter). The bright side is with the other four American Rhythm dances well underway that means there won’t be much more time until we start working on Bolero. I like Bolero, even if I’m not all that good at it, and I’m looking forward to getting back to working on it. On top of all the work creating the American Rhythm routines we will use, we’ve also taken apart and slowly put back together our Foxtrot routine. Apparently it was far too simple before, even though I didn’t think it was simple, so now it’s much more complex. We made minor changes to our Waltz routine, but they are really hard to notice unless you knew the previous version really well. The one that is going to be overhauled the most in terms of the way I actually dance is Tango. We are changing our Tango so that most of the figures we do will have passing feet – much like we do in Foxtrot. This is new to me (I’m sure everyone else on the Internet already does this, so I’m behind the times). It doesn’t seem terrible to do, but I have to remember to actually do it now whenever I dance Tango, which will be the best way to actually learn. So we continue to move forward on things. We haven’t actually discussed what competitions are coming up that we can sign up for, but I’m sure that we will once Sir Steven thinks we are ready to do something. Until then, I will have to find my own motivation to practice. It’s hard to force yourself to practice when there is no upcoming performance hanging over your head, isn’t it?
This weekend I am signed up to help play host/extra male body again at a singles dance party, much like the one I volunteered for back in July. Hopefully this one will be as much fun as the last. Some of the stories we’ve told of helping at the event have gotten around, so I think that there could be more people there “volunteering” for a chance to dance that night rather than actually do any work. Some people will do anything to have a story to tell…
…I am one of those people.