Thursday, 15 November 2012

NaNoBlogMo2 - Ballroom Dancing

As I feared/guessed/planned/assumed, since my schedule hasn't really allowed me to do anything new to write about recently, I am left talking about stuff I used to do. One thing I have not talked much about but still do from time to time, is ballroom dancing.  

Me & my favorite dance partner (Christa) from my college class.
I did dance for 9 years while I was in grade-middle-high school. I took ballet, tap, jazz and hula classes and even helped as a teaching assistant for a few years. I never learned any moves that I could use off the stage though. Sure, it was good exercise, a good practice for rhythm and a lot of fun, but it wasn't like I could bust out a tap routine at a club or a wedding dance floor. For years the only thing I used outside of dance classes was some hula moves, and that was mostly used in a joking matter. One of the best things I got out of my years of dance lessons was a good memory for choreography, or anything similar to it. I think it was really beneficial when it came to memorizing forms for Taekwon-do.

My first steps towards learning actual ballroom dancing was when my friend Tristan tried to teach me how to waltz. At the the rain. It sounds so much like a scene cut straight from a cheesy romantic comedy it makes me laugh. At first it was extremely difficult for me to follow. Tristan actually made me close my eyes so I would stop looking around and fighting him. The impromptu dance lessons peaked my interest and I ended up signing up for a semester of ballroom dance classes. I loved it.

Swing dancing at my friend Dan's wedding.
The class was all the way across campus and about 5 minutes after my class before it. I often showed up to class a little flustered and sweaty. My only complaint was that there were mostly girls in the class (as would be expected in a ballroom dance class) and being the tallest girl I would often need to lead.  I got my chances to dance with Tristan and the other guys in the class, so I got some opportunities to follow. I also didn't mind leading too much, especially when I got partnered up with Christa. She also had previously dance (ballet, etc) experience, so we would both learn the new dance moves quickly for whatever style of dance we were doing that day and go waltzing (sometimes literally) about the dance floor.

After learning ballroom dance in college, I have used it a few times since. One of the most memorable ballroom dance moments I had was when I was in Shanghai and was exploring my neighboorhood. I had just gotten a bike and was checking out a new street I had never been down. I found a whole group of older people ballroom dancing under a canopy in a courtyard beside the street. One of the people dancing noticed me watching and invited me to join. I couldn't really understand the dialect they were speaking with my shoddy Chinese, but I understood enough to have some simple conversations. And I didn't need to know any Chinese to be able to follow in dancing. It was an especially great strange and wonderful thing to happen as I was new to China and feeling out of place and homesick, but that night put me in such a great mood.

Dancing with my friend Panda at Medfest.
When I got back from China, my friends started getting married and suddenly I had the chance to use my dancing skills again. At my friend Dan's wedding I got scooped up by someone who was MUCH BETTER at swing dancing then me, and I found myself being spun around in a wonderful dancey blur. I got invited by my friend Rob to wedding largely because he does ballroom dance and wanted to go with someone who could follow. We made friends with another person at the wedding who is a ballroom dance instructor. I keep saying I should take up another hobby again and taking more ballroom dance classes keeps coming to mind.

Mileage: 2.75

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you definitely got the moves, Stephanie! Not everyone who learns the basics of ballroom dancing progress in their dancing skills. They say it gets harder as you take more classes, but I’m sure you’ll ace every single one of them.