Wednesday – Dance Topics

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The schedule says I’m supposed to talk about dance topics today. I’m not sure that I will have enough topics for all the Wednesdays, so please offer me some other things to go with Dancing. 

Since this is the first Wednesday, I do have some things to talk about for now. 

I love dance. Dance has taught me so much over the years. I have been swing dancing for 15 years and just took up contra dancing in April. I would definitely not qualify as a great dancer, but I do love it. I think a lot while I’m dancing, too much sometimes!

I love the patterns in dance. As a math teacher I guess I can play the nerd card here. Contra dancing, especially, has amazing patterns. I would love to see someone map out the path a single dancer takes over the course of a dance. Contra dancing is constant spinning and passing. The pattern is repeated with each new set of neighbors as you make your way up and down a long line of couples. 

A little about contra dancing since many of you have probably never heard of it. NPR once called it “swirly awesomeness” which I would say summarizes it fairly well. A little like a square dance, a line dance, a swing dance and a social encounter all mushed into 5 minutes or so, contra dancing has stolen my heart. 

My contra affair started on April 1st. I must have decided that I should find something to make a fool of myself at, so I looked up and dance group and went for it! I instantly knew that I was hooked. For each dance I take the hand of a partner, decide who is going to lead and “take hands four” as the band settles in. The caller gives a series of moves that we practice with those nearest us. They are called our neighbors. Once the band starts, we jump right in. Trying to remember my left and right hands correctly, we swing, alamande, gypsy, do si do, or one of a few other moves. A simple walking step takes us through each move. Swirling is inevitable and the best way to avoid dizziness is to stare deep into the eyes of whoever you happen to meet for that move. Swing with this one, alamande with the other, slide left, circle to some other position and start again. My partner, the one I started the dance with, stays with me through out the dance. I know that if I ever get hopelessly lost, I can find my partner and swing until we figure out where to be. The two of us progress through the dance together, meeting others only briefly. 

There are several stories I will relay over time in regards to this beautiful dance. The acceptance, compassion, joy and love that I have experienced in these wood floored dance halls has changed my life in just a few short months. 

That’s enough for tonight. See you out there!

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