I was super excited to go to the dance party that I attended last Saturday night at the Cherished Dance Hall, and it turned out to be even more fun than I thought it was going to be when I heard about it in the first place. They were offering a class beforehand that was advertised as being ‘fun moves’ for Viennese Waltz. I happen to really like Viennese Waltz, especially American Viennese Waltz, but I can’t say that I know all that many figures to do during one. A lot of people tell me that just seeing people whirling around the floor doing International-style Viennese Waltz is super impressive in and of itself, but there’s that voice in the back of my head that likes to prod me to do something… more. Plus, the nice thing about the few fancy moves I do know in Viennese Waltz is that they give you a chance to stop whirling around in a circle for a few measures of the music, which is a really good thing to do sometimes. So, I was excited to take the class and see if I could pick up a few new figures that I had never done before. It was a holiday weekend, as I’m sure you all are aware, so I thought that there would only be a few people in the class with me. The only people from my usual group that wanted to go to the party that night were Points and Sparkledancer. Points was bored all day, so she wanted to tag along to the class beforehand, even though she had never done Viennese Waltz before. More people than I expected showed up to class (there were at least twenty bodies there), so I was kind of shocked. The person teaching class was actually the lady in charge of the Cherished Dance Hall, Lady Gusto. Before we started, she asked if there was anyone who had never done Viennese Waltz before. A couple of the people were iffy on their past experience, so we went over just the basics for about half the class. Once Lady Gusto was satisfied that we could all do the Natural and Reverse Turns correctly, we started in on the fun things she had been hoping to teach that night, and lucky for me, there were two figures and a position that I had never done before. The first was a Developé. I have to say, I really like this one because, as the guy, it allows me to basically stop and stand still for a three count. It was easy enough to get into from half of a Reverse Turn, so I can now throw this in whenever I feel like, especially if I see that my dance partner needs a short breather. After that, Lady Gusto continued her pattern to have us flip the lady into Shadow Position and then go through a Grapevine. I’ve done the Grapevine in a few different dance styles now, and I must say that Waltz Grapevines (both slow Waltz and now Viennese) have an awkward feeling compared to the Grapevine in Foxtrot. Maybe that’s because I learned the figure first in Foxtrot, but that’s how I feel about them.
During the dance party, there were a lot of people who showed up to have some fun. I danced almost non-stop for about a half hour, and then I realized that I was getting to be kind of gross and sweaty, so I went and grabbed a cup of water and stepped outside the front door into the cooler night air to hang out for a bit. I was just staring off across the street at the building over there, and Lady Gusto came outside after a short while and joined me, because she was also getting really warm dancing so much. I’m not sure what it is about hanging out outside the door of the Cherished Dance Hall, but that seems to be the place where I end up having interesting conversations with dance instructors. She and I talked for quite a while about the party today. Initially she was worried that, because it was a holiday weekend, no one would be around. On top of that, she had feared that holding a class in Viennese Waltz beforehand would keep people away. She said that there were four dance styles that people don’t really come to her classes for: Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Pasodoble and Samba. The last time she did a Viennese Waltz class before a social dance party, she said only two people showed up! But she really wanted to do something fun, and she thought that since it was a holiday, if there was a chance only a few people showed up, she was going to do whatever she wanted. Hearing that made me sad. I admitted to her that I had been super excited for the class, since Viennese Waltz isn’t one of those things I get to go over very often, and that I loved the times when not many people would show up to Lord Junior’s Latin Technique class and he let us work on Pasodoble, so if she ever wanted to do something in that style I would be all over it as well. We continued talking about how dancing was going for both of us for a while, and during our conversation some random person walked up from off the street. He told us that he had seen the bright sign hanging above the door with the words ‘ballroom dancing’ on it, and that had drawn him toward us. He was from out-of-town, and hadn’t danced in a while, so he wanted to know what dancing was like in the area. I mentioned that ballroom dancing was a big thing in the Dance Kingdom, with lots of places all over to go out dancing. The guy thought that was really cool. Lady Gusto kind of smiled weakly at that, and said that it was really cool for all the dancers in the area, but not quite as cool for all the dance instructors since there was a lot of competition for students, and more instructors keep coming into the Dance Kingdom all the time because they hear it is such a happening place in the ballroom world.
Funny side note: as it turned out, the guy hadn’t really stopped by just to join the dance party. He was staying in a nearby hotel and was looking for somewhere to go get some food with his mother, and got distracted by the sign he saw. Lady Gusto told him that there weren’t too many places within walking distance to get food, but confessed that the strip club less than a block away had the best breakfast she’s ever had in her opinion, so she recommended checking that out if he could look past the other entertainment going on in there. There had to be some kind of interesting story that explains how she found that little fact out, but she didn’t share it with us that night. Maybe next time I end up standing outside the door of the Cherished Dance Hall talking to her, I will have to remember to ask…
The dance itself was a lot of fun too. Those two girls from the Great Dance Hall by the Lake showed up near the end of the Viennese Waltz class, and they brought a couple more people along with them (another girl and a young gentleman). It was nice having more people around my age to talk and dance with. Though, now that I look back on it, I realize I didn’t get to talk and dance with any of them all that much – younger, attractive girls are always asked out to the floor at any social dance gathering I go to. Some dance parties I have to fight to get my name on Sparkledancer’s dance card, because she gets asked out to the floor to dance by lots of people. I talked with the guy a couple of times when he was taking a short break on the side of the floor. He hasn’t been dancing long, and this was his first time going to a dance party where more people than just the dancers at his own studio showed up, so he said that navigating the floor was challenging for him. I told him about my own struggles with working on floorcraft, and how dance parties like these where the floor was busy turned out to be the best way for me to hone my skills, and to get Sparkledancer to totally trust that I knew what I was doing so that I could change our routines during a competition to get around people if needed. He thanked me for the advice, and said he was really jealous that I knew Viennese Waltz. He had been watching during the few songs that had played so far that night, and he wished he knew how to do it now.
Speaking of Sparkledancer being asked to dance by people… she somehow made a new friend that night. There is an older gentleman who I have seen at a few different dance parties who asked Sparkledancer repeatedly to dance during this party. In my mind, I’ve always referred to him as Shufflebot, because that’s actually what he does out on the floor – he likes to go out to dance ballroom dances, mostly Waltz and Foxtrot, but he isn’t really dancing like everyone else is, but rather it looks more like he is slowly walking around the room with a partner. Shuffling, as it were. So he kept coming to find Sparkledancer anytime a song he liked was on to dance with her. She told me later that he wanted to know all kinds of things about her life while they danced. He asked her when her birthday was, and then used that information to math up her age (yes, I said ‘math up’ – I like it). He asked her about where she grew up, what her job was, a bunch of random questions about science for some reason, and where she normally went out dancing. That night she was wearing a shirt that was something like a crop top, where it didn’t quite touch the top of the skirt she was wearing. She told me after the party that when they were dancing, he really liked to rest his right hand over that sliver of exposed flesh on her left side. I find that really funny for some reason. I don’t think I could get away with doing that, since A) it’s not proper frame, and it would be frowned upon, and B) I’m younger, so I don’t think ladies would laugh it off as me being a harmless old man.
Late Wednesday night I met up with Sir Steven and Sparkledancer to work on our upcoming showcase routine. It’s hard to believe that there’s only about a month left before I’ll be performing this piece. Sir Steven had been booked up until late that evening at the Electric Dance Hall, working with Chanel on things. When we got there and were about to get started, Sir Steven said that Chanel was unfortunately not going to be able to make it to the performance, so he wanted to see if we would be OK with showing her what we had put together so far. So, we had a mini-performance for a crowd of one. Later on, Lord Junior, who had run home for a little bit, came back to the studio to set some things up for a group that was coming in later that evening, and Sir Steven asked us to show him what we had done so far as well, so we did another crowd-of-one run through. We have just a couple more eight counts to work out in the choreography before the whole routine is more-or-less complete, and after we have all of the choreography Sir Steven told us that we could use that free session Sparkledancer had won with Lord Junior to have him look at things with a second set of eyes before the performance to make sure we look snazzy and strong. I also think I almost have my whole outfit worked out for the performance! Yay me! I decided against the pleather pants, I’m sure you’ll all be happy (or sad) to know. While pleather would definitely give it that ‘80s rock look that I wanted, I couldn’t find any that weren’t either in Asian sizes (which I couldn’t comfortably figure out how to translate into my normal pants size), or restricted my movement too much to be comfortable while dancing. But I did manage to find a different pair of pants that allows me full range of motion with my legs AND has that rock-and-roll look that I wanted. It’s a little outside of my normal clothing style (OK, a lot outside of my normal clothing style), so I don’t think I will ever use these pants again after the showcase is over, but I found them pretty cheap so it’s no big loss.
What kind of pants, you ask, give you that much freedom of movement and also give off the right look and feel?
Two words: bondage pants.
That’s all I’m going to say about that.