I should be so much better at this

3 Mar

When I’m at home, I swing dance. A lot. And I’ve been doing it for about five years, so I’m pretty good at it.

When I’m at school, I go into major withdrawals, because I don’t get to dance for about four months. 

I tried salsa dancing a few times freshman year, and once sophomore year, but it just wasn’t the same. I gave up on it completely until tonight. My friends got a big group together, and I decided to be social and give it another shot.

It was. SO. Difficult.

I’m a lindy hopper. I’m used to tension in dancing, to moving my body in a completely different way. I kept seeing great dancers on the floor, and when I would ask them to dance, I just couldn’t follow. I would get the basic going well, get a couple of turns, and then when they tried to lead something more complicated I got completely lost. 

During one dance, the person I was dancing with was constantly stopping me, trying to explain what I should be doing. I could tell he was disappointed and a little bit annoyed. At the very end of the dance, I said, “Sorry, I’m a swing dancer.” And he exclaimed “OH!” and tried to explain to me what I needed to do to change my follow.

The difficult thing is, when dancing salsa with someone, I not only have to think about what I’m doing, because I haven’t salsa-ed enough for it to be natural, I also have to actively stop myself from going into swing dance mode.

So I tried. And it didn’t seem to work. My dancing was fine, but it wasn’t great, or even good. I was thinking too hard for it to be good. I couldn’t get in the mode of just feeling the connection and following, because I had to make sure I didn’t start rock stepping.

When we were about to leave, I decided I wanted to dance with the best dancer there. I walked up to him and asked him to dance. He said yes, and I was wayyyy nervous that I would completely embarrass myself.

But he was a strong lead, and the song had a beat that was easy to follow. 

About 30 seconds into the song, he asked, “You’ve been doing this for quite a while, haven’t you?”

“Well, no, I’ve only done it a few times. But I’m a swing dancer and that helps a lot.”

As awkward as it is to walk into a dance environment and not be as good as I’m used to being, it felt pretty awesome to get that back, just for one dance.

And that was probably my last dance until I get back to Seattle. Century and Eastside, I miss you. Camp Jitterbug, I can’t wait.


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