Monday, August 21

PA 6-5000

So lately I have picked up a new hobby, or at least, I'm trying to. A friend of mine has been telling me forever how much fun swing dancing is, and I've always loved the music of that time. Plus, as I've already said, I wish our generation had some cool dances of our own.

I have many helpful hints for you 1st-time swing dancers out there, that is, if any of you have considered taking it up but never had the gumption (not sure of the root word there; is gumption a gerund?). Here’s a short list, based solely on my personal experience at 3(count ‘em!) lessons:

  1. Clothing: Wear slick-soled, non-marking shoes and make sure your clothing is breatheable. Everyone should wear something with sleeves, since ladies put their hand on the guy's shoulder & don’t want to touch sweaty skin---and the lead’s arm sort of goes under the lady's armpit, especially if you’re short like me. So no tank tops for anyone, please!
  2. Men, who must lead, this sucks for you. It’s way harder and you have to pay a lot of attention to the women (which may be new for you) to make sure we’re getting the right signals (which is also probably foreign to you) and know where you want us to go next.
  3. Frame: This is your stance for dancing, the position you put your body in---basically back & arms, including hands and elbows. If your partner is a foot taller or shorter, please accommodate her/him. And if you keep your hands in the right place, everything else is that much easier.
  4. Guys, this is a great place to meet women: not one but 3 men were partner-less, but all of them got to dance with every woman on the room, since we rotated constantly. Use your head & you may take home a few numbers!
  5. Women, I'd say it's a great place to meet hot men, but I'd be lying. It is a great place to meet guys you would ordinarily write off as not strikingly handsome (if you're like me) or probably socially inept. It's cool that you can meet guys & not instantly begin assessing dating potential. I like that I look at someone & think, "I want to dance with him; he looks like a good lead," instead of, "I want to dance with him; he looks hot."
  6. Be prepared to fvck up a lot and laugh about it. Everyone. No one likes a stuck-up dancer.
  7. That having been said, have confidence. If you act like you know, you look like you do. That makes you much easier to lead or follow.
(I've been attending Red Hot Lindy Hop's weekly dance lessons, but there are more groups in this town doing the same, in case their times don't work for you.) Even if you aren't a great dancer---and believe me, I'm not---it still a lot of fun. It's much easier than wind-surfing, at any rate. And everyone needs a hobby, or a change of pace every now and again, or you get stale as old saltines.

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