Social Dancing and Other Random Thoughts

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Happy Christmas Eve Eve

The best laid plans …  Yesterday, I got a last minute text from Hilde saying that she couldn’t make it out to Studio B because she’s got a sinus infection and didn’t feel up to dancing.  Certainly understandable because I’ve had those as well and they just make you feel icky.  Pretty sure a large majority of people who live in my part of the country end up struggling with sinus/allergy stuff.  Just a joy of living in an area with four seasons but with changeable weather.  All kinds of yucky stuff in the air and going inside with forced heat where who knows what kinds of things are being expelled with the hot air.

I decided not to go to the party for three reasons:

1.  Still got that whole introvert discomfort with walking into a room full of people I don’t know that well.  Actually, it is more the sitting at my table by myself because very few people actually socialize at Studio B.

2. The ratio of men to women is out of balance.  I swear there must be something about this town because, even at the Famous Franchise, there are many nights that the group classes are predominantly male.

3.  The fact that I’ve become kind of a dance snob and that makes social dancing somewhat less enjoyable unless I’ve got a partner like Hilde.

Well maybe it isn’t so much that I’m a dance snob.  Dancing mostly pro/am for many years has made it harder to really enjoy social dancing at least for me.  Dancing gets to me on several levels but one of the best things is when you actually get to move as one unit.  When the lead/follow is good and you aren’t breaking each other’s momentum and nobody is fighting for control, then the dance can open up and move and that is such a great feeling.  It also helps that my pro partners know our routines and they can subtly back lead a bit.  But it is that feeling I want and when you have to use more force than expected to lead or when the dance becomes a wrestling match or when the lady is basically doing her own thing no matter what you are suggesting, then it kind of sucks all the fun out of social dancing.  At least for me.

Now, when I go off on tangents like this, I have to remind you all that I’m speaking from the perspective of one who leads.  I know very well that leaders can have all kinds of problems as well so this is not to suggest that all the problems lie on one side of the dance floor.   And, no, I’m certainly not saying I’m a perfect lead.  I would never say that.  But, when I have a coach come and rave about my abilities, then I do know that I have some skills at the leading thing.   Which is why it can be frustrating to dance with someone who doesn’t seem to care what I’m trying to do.

So I did not attend the party at Studio B and that meant the party at the Famous Franchise is likely my last social dance event of the year.  For some reason, both studios decided that the dreaded “Ugly Christmas Sweater” theme was a good idea.  I don’t own many sweaters and I’m certainly not going to shell out money for something I’ll only wear once.  Besides, dancing is a physical activity and why would I wear an extra layer that would just make me more uncomfortable.  And, to be honest, there is that part of my personality that values individuality meaning that when something becomes wildly popular, I tend to stop doing it.  To me, the ugly Christmas sweater thing is played and silly and should be consigned to the trash heap.  But that’s just me.  I don’t care if others want to do it.  I just won’t be caught dead in an ugly Christmas Sweater – or any Christmas sweater for that matter.

The party at the Famous Franchise left a lot to be desired.  One good thing about the Famous Franchise is that their music selection is wide and varied so you won’t hear the same stuff over and over again.  The bad thing is that when they do a “theme” party, they often cram songs into dances that just barely fit.  So they say “you can Cha-Cha to this” and it is sort of true.  You can do a Cha-Cha like dance but it really isn’t up to the right tempo or the beat is so hidden that you can’t follow it or it is a song that sounds nothing at all like a Cha-Cha even if the beat is vaguely similar to a Cha-Cha.  But it fits the Christmas theme and they want to offer a variety of dances and since most Christmas songs are Swings/Fox Trots, the others have to get jammed in there somehow.

Oh, and in addition to the Ugly Sweater Theme, they decided to do a Lip Sync battle.  OK, this is the third year they’ve done that at the last party of the year.  But, very few people actually sign up.  We had three the first year.  Last year, Z went out recruiting on the night of the party and got a few more.  This year, they just basically signed people up without their consent.  I guess they figured peer pressure or some such thing would keep people from saying no.  And everyone gave it a shot.  They knew better than to not ask me because I would have told them where they could put their Lip Sync battle.

I’m sure there is something in the Famous Franchise handbook that encourages this sort of thing.  Probably something about breaking down people’s inhibitions and getting them comfortable with doing silly things.  I mean certain parts of dancing seem silly when you are first introduced to them.  And maybe it is just another way of getting people comfortable doing things when others are watching which is also part of dancing if you do their events.  Or maybe it is because the people who dream this up are all extroverts who think everyone just loves having this kind of fun.

You might be wondering why the performer in me isn’t all about this kind of stuff when I love doing dance routines so much.  I’m not sure.  I just thought of that myself and now I’m wondering if it is some kind of contradiction.  Could be because the dance is so much more and I’ve trained over and over again to make it look good.  I do have an issue with looking silly or feeling like I’m looking silly especially if I’m in an environment where I don’t feel completely comfortable or when people will really be laughing at me and not with me.  (Not sure if that made any sense).  And this doesn’t apply to any of the other students because everyone is having a good time.  But it does apply to at least one instructor and we’ll leave it at that.

But, there was some dancing and some of it was good.  At the end of the party, we all walked around for hugs and handshakes and “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year”.  Seems strange because these are all people I basically only know through the studio but we have been dancing together for many years so it creates a certain bond.  Yes, this is another thing that the Famous Franchise does well.  Maybe all the silly stuff just helps to bring people together so the studio ends up feeling warm and inviting (most of the time).

Next week, they are there by appointment only.  I’ve got a double lesson with Kid T on Tuesday and I think we are going to be the only ones in the studio which is good because we’ll have the whole floor but a little weird because it makes the studio seem so quiet.

Oh, and just because I remembered it, I’m going to end with a random little observation from my trainer.  If you remember, she just started working with me about a month or so ago.  I have her on Friday and another guy on Tuesday.  Anyway, she’s running me through some exercises and then she tells me that I’ve got a pretty strong core.  Something about the thing we were doing and how most people wouldn’t be able to stay as stable as I was.  This is an interesting observation because I have a love/hate relationship with core exercises.  I hate doing them and love it when they are over 🙂  No, I always end up feeling weak and worn out with core stuff but there clearly has been some progress.  That made me feel good.  The Fitness Center is closed next week so I get a week to rest.

Well I said I was going to end but I thought of something else.  Today, we actually got a little snowfall.  It was the best kind since it didn’t stick to the roads but was enough to add a little dusting to the grass and trees.  I’m a confirmed snow hater but I have to admit that it can be pretty.  And it is nice to have a little snow for Christmas – seems traditional.  It is welcome to melt and go away right after though.

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