Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Joy of Dancing

Last night I had a fantastic time dancing at the summer end party at the Boathouse. Now, I'll admit that the boathouse had a few extra bonus points making it fun (a live band, 3 kick-ass performances, many people dressed in vintage), dancing is always a hell of a good time.

You don't actually have to be very good to enjoy dancing... or for that matter for me to enjoy dancing with you.

Case in point, a very nice gentleman who comes out to Friday night swing dances quite regularly, who for whatever reason has been cursed with a distinct lack of ability to move with any sort of fluidity. When I first danced with him a few months ago, I found it quite challenging - it was hard to follow him because he never seemed to land all of his body quite on the beat. But last night my two dances with him were among the best of the evening - it was so much fun to watch him styling up a couple of Lindy Hop dances, learn what he was doing, and try a few new moves of my own.

It's always nice when a guy can surprise you - either by adding a bit of unexpected shine to a move, or by leading you through a move you've never done before, or even just by combining moves in a different order than you've ever done them before. It's the unpredictability that keeps dancing from getting boring - getting out on the dance floor can be quite the rollercoaster ride!

And of course, it's even more fun when you can surprise the guy you are dancing with :-)

The one thing I'm really missing now that Ben has gone to Toronto, however, is somebody to work on the Blues factor with. While most people tend to think of Blues dancing as close, slow dancing (if they think of it at all), I am inclined to identify Blues dancing with the dramatic tension created by playing with the rhythms of the music. It requires a good connection to your partner and the ability to sink into the floor, and is epitomised in my mind by the moment when you are connected to your partner with one hand, with both of you using that hand to stretch back, bend your knees and get closer to the floor, holding it for a second or two past the beat of the music, and then springing into motion catch up with the music. Ooey-gooey goodness, as Andrea would put it!

As with all of my activities, in dance I strive for that feeling of connection, in two dimensions: the physical dimension of connecting with my own body, and in the emotional dimension of connecting with another person. You get that kind of connection in ultimate when someone you know catches the disc, and you've timed your cut perfectly to precisely the place you know they are going to want to throw, and they know that you're going to be there, and the throw and the catch push both of you precisely to the limit of your physical ability, but they come off without a hitch. Such a good feeling!

The advantage of dancing is that getting connected is so much easier to accomplish! After all, that's what dancing is all about - the connection between the lead and the follow. I will often go entire ultimate games without connecting with anyone, but it's very rare that I go dancing without connecting with several people over the course of the evening.

Dancing is good for the soul, and so I say: "Dance, dance, wherever you may be..."

Even if your partner/spouse isn't into dancing, or you don't have a partner/spouse, social dancing is for you! Come with me some Friday night so that I can show you how much fun it is!


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