Surprise Party

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Well, you remember when I said I was going to the party at the Famous Franchise on Thursday.  Yeah … maybe not so much.  I looked at the group class before and it was Salsa which is not a popular dance at our Famous Franchise so I figured it would all be one giant group like the Bachata class earlier in the week.

Now, I’ve pretty much done every dance that the Famous Franchise teaches at some point in my long dance career.  And, there are similarities so it is usually easy for me to jump right in even with a dance I don’t do – especially when the group class is just focused on basic movements like this one would be.  But, it does mean the a group class filled with lots of novice Salsa dancers and maybe focused just on one pattern is going to get a little boring for me.  Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

I thought about going to just the party but then it started raining and I was really tired and the thought of driving in the rain all the way across town for a 45 minute party just didn’t appeal to me.  So I skipped which now makes me 0 for January at the Famous Franchise (and also 0 for 2017).  I’m sure this will be a topic of conversation since I kind of promised Kid T I was going to be there on Thursday.  This coming week is another one of the dreaded studio Open House’s and she’s already got me signed up.  Since I have a lesson at 6:45 on Thursday and the party is right after, I figure I’ll finally break my string and actually attend my first party at the Famous Franchise since last year.

I was all set to stay in on Friday night as well but I got a text from Hilde around 5ish asking if I was up for the party at Studio B.  Remember we were planning on going last week but were iced out by the ice storm that never materialized.  I said I’d be happy to and we agreed to meet up at the Rumba group class before the party.

I should mention that Hilde is an elected officer in one of our local dance councils.  Might be the only local dance council in town – I’m just not into that scene.  So she knows quite a few people from that including one guy who showed up at Studio B who seemed to be new to Studio B but not to dancing.

The crowd wasn’t large which is a little sad.  I thought it might have been bigger given all the people I saw at the class on Monday night but sometimes making the leap from the safety of a beginning group class to a social event is hard.  Hell, I struggle with making the leap from the safety of the Famous Franchise to dance events at other studios.  Which is really a little bizarre because I’m a guy who can dance which means if I wanted to go somewhere and dance, I probably wouldn’t have trouble finding willing partners.  Still just a little hesitant (OK at LOT hesitant) about asking strange women to dance.

Group class was relatively small.  It was me and the aforementioned guy Hilde knew from the outside dance world and two other ladies.  One was the lady who I’ve danced a lot with.  She’s the only other one I’m really comfortable with at Studio B and she does enjoy dancing with me.  The other lady is one of those who attends the intermediate groups and can sort of get through the steps but tends to be preoccupied with doing her part rather than trying to learn to follow.

The group class was just getting the lady into wrap and hammerlock in Rumba from either the back half of a box or from an open break and some fancy ways to move between the two holds.  The instructor was very clear on not wanting the ladies to look at us when being rolled in to the wrap position because she wanted to make sure the ladies were able to stay balanced and in their own space.  She said that more advanced dancers could look but she always starts teaching people not to look so they learn to balance themselves first.  I happened to be dancing with my fan (not Hilde) at the time the instructor was going into this and she of course took the opportunity to tell the instructor that she really wanted to look at me because I was so gorgeous.  Seriously ladies, I’m more than a pretty face who can dance!! Can’t you respect me for my mind and not my looks??  Of course, I would have preferred that she say something like ruggedly handsome but I’ll take gorgeous.  Unless she meant something like Gorgeous George the wrestler.  That might not be such a compliment.  (Yes, I’m having a little fun here with an offhand remark.)

Danced a lot with Hilde – Fox Trot, Tango, Waltz, Viennese Waltz and Hustle. Danced a Fox Trot, a Waltz and a Cha-Cha with the other lady.  Had to do a West Coast with an instructor which was just a little too stressful for me.  I know Famous Franchise West Coast and I’m just learning non Famous Franchise West Coast.  Can’t really drop back to FF West Coast since she is more used to the other style.  And I don’t know it well enough to do it without thinking incredibly hard about what my next move is going to be.  I’ve learned that thinking and dancing don’t mix so it was awkward and it just made me incredibly self-conscious so I stuck with non instructors for the rest of the night.  Well, I stuck with the two ladies I was comfortable with if you want the truth.  Still, it was fun.  I left after about an hour because I was starting to become a mess and there is something about sharing my sweat that I don’t want to do.  At a comp or a Showcase, it is unavoidable.  At a social event, I tend to leave when I start to feel disgusting because I can’t possible be gorgeous when I feel disgusting.  I’ve got a rep to keep up, you know.

So I did get to a social dance last week.  Just not the one I planned.  But that’s OK because sometimes the unplanned are better.



  1. Wall – I’m interested in your discomfort around asking ladies you don’t know to dance. Would you say that’s a function of your introversion, or might it be related more directly to dancing? I’ve never had the opportunity to interview leads about the implications of the lead role. I’m wondering if even extroverted leads worry about maybe being judged by an unknown lady. Perhaps there are other concerns I’ve not thought of. BTW: I found out some FF studios, e.g. Orlando, FLA, are happy to teach ladies whose primary role is to follow to lead and vice versa. That’s the xase in pricate and group lessons.

    1. It isn’t so much being judged but in the desire to make the dance fun and enjoyable for the lady. That puts two types of pressure on me. First, am I expected to carry on some kind of conversation because social dancing in complete silence feels weird. My small talk ability with people I don’t know being what it is, I usually end up with some awkward bits of conversation. Secondly is figuring out what the lady knows or doesn’t know so I don’t end up dancing something she can’t follow. Problem is that I’ve been so trained to do my routines that my inventory of basic social dance steps is limited. So I end up doing a couple of things over and over again and I never know if that is really fun.

      1. Thank you. Very helpful info. My personal POV as a follow is that I’d rather be dancing than sitting, Would rather have a lead repeat fairly basic steps than not dance with me. Also, I’ve had leads ask questions such as, “do you know Half moon?” We recently had a female guest from another FF studio attend one of our parties. Only the teachers danced with her – and not often as there were only two on hand. None of the 3 male students approached her. I wondered why, as all are nice guys. Didn’t want to ask for fear of seeming to rebuke them. Now I know some possible reasons. I finally told the woman I can lead a little and she seemed happy to dance with me, even though she turned out to be at Silver and I only fumble my way through Asso. Bronze Hustle, Swing, Rumba & Cha Cha.

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