Look at this! I’m totally putting something up on a holiday! Were you worried that I wouldn’t? You shouldn’t have, I wouldn’t miss telling stories without a really good reason. And eating some turkey isn’t a good enough reason in my mind to prevent me from talking about dancing…
I really feel like lately I have had to step up my game being a dance ambassador. Since I helped host that singles dance party a few weeks back, there have been a couple of women that had asked for recommendations on places to take some dance lessons that have actually taken up the suggestions that were given to them, and shown up at the Electric Dance Hall during nights when I’ve been there. Since I was partially responsible for planting the seed in their head to come there, I went out of my way to talk to them (and, as you can imagine, dance with them) while they were around. I’ve mentioned before that Sparkledancer has told me of her theory that it is hard for people to learn things as an adult, starting at the lowest level and being a beginner. It can be really discouraging and make people feel stupid, especially if you have no other life skills to relate dancing to, so it seems completely foreign to attempt to move your body in these ways. Keeping this theory in the back of my mind, I have done my best to encourage these newcomers while they are in the dance world – answer any questions they have about the figures we go over in the classes they are attending with me and help them not get frustrated if they can’t grasp things right off the bat as they begin to learn all this new material. I like to think that it is helping them enjoy dancing more. One of the new ladies even brought one of her friends from work with her to class last Friday night, so I take that to mean she is having a good time, at least enough to recommend the experience to another person.
During the class last Friday, we were continuing to go through American Rumba, and we ended up having three newcomers in the class with us (which included the two I mentioned earlier). As the class began, I was a little nervous – I was the only male that had shown up before the class began, and we had six women lined up on the other side of the room facing me as Sir Steven began talking about what we were going to work on that night. Luckily, just before we actually started going over figures, Jack and Diane came in and, after changing their shoes, joined us on the floor. That made the ratios a little better with now three men total to face off against seven women. Since the newcomers to the dance style were all on the women’s side, Sir Steven spent most of the class demonstrating the lady’s part of all the figures, and only briefly touched on things for Jack and I since we both already knew the figures he decided to cover that night. He did make a point to stress that we work on certain techniques during each figure as we led the ladies through things, but since he had to join in and dance with all the ladies, he couldn’t watch what Jack and I were doing and critique how we did. Personally I feel like I was doing a good job though, so that means I must have been doing awesome!
The next evening, Lord Junior had put together another dance party at the Electric Dance Hall that had a live band accompanying all the cavorting. The band was the same group that came in a while back for a similar event, and they played smooth jazz numbers all night to keep everyone out on the floor (it’s the rough jazz numbers that keep everyone in their seats, as I’m sure you all know). Several of the people who I went to this event with had tried to invite the newcomers that were in class with us the night before to come along to this dance party, but we only managed to get two of the three to show up. One lady even went out to dinner with all of us before the party started. Having her there made me realize that I have forgotten how different that the dance world looks to people that aren’t yet enthralled with the sport. During dinner, she was going around the table and asking various people about things that they did outside of dancing. I was taken aback when she asked me. ‘Wait a minute,’ I thought, ‘when I’m not dancing, I’m usually thinking about dance or practicing my routines and new figures that I’m working on, or hanging out with other dance people and talking about dance… what else would I be doing?’ But I didn’t want to say that out loud to her, so instead I talked about technical things related to work that caused her to lose interest in me. I don’t think she’s quite to the point yet where dance fills almost every moment of her time outside of her job, so I didn’t want to scare her off quite yet.
When we got to the party, Lord Junior gave a short beginner lesson as the band was getting things set up. He went over Foxtrot, which I’m sure you can imagine works out well when dancing to jazz music. We covered only the bare essentials that would let anyone get around the room – the forward walk, the left-rock turn and the side-to-side sway step. The funniest thing that I noticed because of this lesson was that some people really took to the Foxtrot and attempted to do that style of dance to everything. There was one gentleman that was there, and every time I saw him out on the floor, no matter which partner he was dancing with or what dance style everyone else was doing, he was out dancing the basic Foxtrot around the room. He even did it weaving through all the people out on the floor during a Cha-Cha, which made his Foxtrot steps really fast! I suppose that old saying fits here… “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Good job, Mr. Foxtrot-Guy. Next time I see you (if I remember what you look like), I will shake your hand.
Speaking of Foxtrot, I got to do what I thought was a really fun Foxtrot with Diane during the evening. Jack and Diane have been missing for quite a while. Between their seemingly endless amounts of vacation and some family matters that they were attending to, I think the last time they joined us for a dance party was a couple of months ago, and from the sounds of things they hadn’t been dancing much during the intermediate time. She laughed a lot when I asked her if she remembered much American-style Foxtrot, since previously she and Jack had switched to doing International Standard only, but she said she could follow. So, we went! There were a few figures that she didn’t know, but I tried to stick with things that either I knew she was in class with me when I learned them, or that I thought I could guide her through easily. At the end, when I returned to the table in the corner where everyone I had come to the party with was hanging out, she told Sparkledancer that there were large parts of it that she was just walking along to keep up with me, rather than dancing. There was a good laugh had at my expense for that. I guess I wasn’t doing as good of a job guiding her through things as I thought I was…
Well, now that the holiday is over, what kind of exciting things do you have planned for this crazy weekend? Shopping? Bleah… no thanks. How about dancing instead? If you’re interested, I know of all kinds of dance parties going on! The Electric Dance Hall is holding their biweekly Friday night dance tomorrow night after the American Rumba class, and I hear that the City Dance Hall is also having an open dance at the same time. On top of that, Saturday night there’s a social dance party going on at the Endless Dance Hall for those people that aren’t completely worn out by all the dark-colored shopping days this weekend that people won’t stop talking about. Since I have actually penciled in some extra practice time during the days on Friday and Saturday rather than going out and getting stuck in traffic with all the other consumers, I will likely end up at dance parties both Friday and Saturday night to put all that practice to good use. Are you going to go too? If so, maybe I’ll see you at one of those parties!