29 July 2008

It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing…

Doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah!

I've pirouetted my way through ballet (albeit ungracefully), I've stomped my way through Irish dancing and I've cha-cha-chaed my way across the steamy Latin dance floor. As if all that mish-mash weren't enough, I now find myself jumping and jittering my way through the uncharted territory of East Coast Swing (A.K.A the Lindy Hop).

Last week I dragged a very reluctant husband off to a six-week crash course on Swing. This is the one dance style that I have wanted to try for ages and I was finally able to coerce Daniel into admitting that this particular dance wouldn't be "too embarrassing" for him. I bet the poor guy regrets his words now because, no more than a week later, I had us booked for lessons.

The verdict - it's about as fun as it looks! I suppose the idea of jumping or hopping around and listening to Big Band music wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I think there's such a timeless quality to it. I had just as much fun bopping around as my grandmother would have had in her day. It brings you back to a time when music was music (not digitally re-mastered junk) and guys and gals weren't afraid to dance together (gasp...heaven forbid).

One of the best things about our teachers is that they constantly make us switch partners in the class. While I found this concept a little daunting at first (what do you mean I don't get to dance with my husband?), it turned out to be very beneficial. By dancing with multiple partners (swinging..haha), you learn how to follow or lead more consistently. In my case, it was fun to pick up other peoples' dance styles. While my husband tries hard, Lord love him, I usually end up leading when we're dancing together. It was both refreshing and challenging to give up that lead and let a complete stranger take over. In some cases I was still stuck back-leading, but there are a few strong leads that had no trouble maneuvering me about the dance floor. I even got to free-style a little with one partner which was a new experience. While I think I'll have no trouble mastering the basics of swing, I think that learning to 'follow' will always be my greatest challenge. I may be small, but I have a very obstinate and commanding presence; it's a redhead thing...

As you can see, I'm obviously thrilled with the whole foray into swing. I have a feeling that hubby, on the other hand, will make me pay for this "punishment" for years to come. Something tells me I'll be watching many horrible sci-fi movies in the foreseeable future.

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