Friday, May 11, 2007

How I Became a Dancer

TH asked me the other day about how I got into dancing. I thought I'd covered that, but after looking everywhere on my bloggy, I couldn't find the pathway. Just for you TH, the Whole Truth:

Dancing has long fascinated me, whether as a participant or simply watching on TV. My parents were a bit of an inspiration when they took country western line dancing lessons through the local community college when I was very young. The babysitter would always put me to bed before my parents got home, but as soon as they arrived, I'd fly out of bed begging Dad to teach me a few steps he'd learned that night. He always obliged me, if only to walk me up and down the long hallway in a two-step or around the living room once in an Electric Slide.

Every year in elementary school and middle school, we were forced to partner up and learn a new dance. Some years we learned country dances, and often we worked on traditional square dances. I hardly remember learning a basic waltz now, but I am sure teachers forced us to hold hands and count to three a few thousand times.

And then there was the TV. OPB was on more often than not in our house when I was little, so I saw tons of ballroom dances, DanceSport events, Latin Championships, etc. Like any young girl, I would imitate the graceful steps, pretending I was wearing one of those frilly, sequined, extravagant ballgowns.

As I matured through high school and college, I found myself studying music instead of dance. I'd never pursued any dance lessons, had never taken ballet, and was pretty much a klutz. Sure, I had great rhythm (most drum majors learn this eventually), and I could definitely count music, but it never occurred to me to learn to dance.

My senior year in college was halfway over. I only needed a few more required credits, but I still needed a lot of elective credits. Those credits could come from anywhere in the university, from any college or discipline, from any department or subject. I considered taking more science classes to pad my degree. I thought about art, music, and writing (easy classes to boost my GPA). I wanted to take some more cartography classes. And I've also held a life-long respect and admiration of disciplined martial artists. For days I reviewed class schedules and watched classes fill up until I could register. When the day finally arrived (at 12:00am, way back in the day when you could register the "night before"), only Ballroom I and Karate I were open. I had a class conflict with Karate I, so I signed up for Ballroom I.

My first days in the class were a breeze! I could already count music and was often the first person to pick up where the downbeat was. Several guys asked me if I'd danced previously, but I always told them no. Ballroom I was a ton of fun. The next term was even more busy with dance: Ballroom II, Nightclub/Hustle, Lindy I, and Salsa. I attended every workshop, every dance, every practice... I danced hundreds of hours in those last ten weeks of college. I skipped classes to dance and wrote papers when I should have been sleeping. It was truly a whirlwind time for me, but the absolute best time of my life.

After that, I think you can read all about my life as a dancer by clicking on "Dancing" on the left. I also have a list of the dances I can do, and hopefully no broken links exist to more information (Wikis and Movies) if you so desire. To anyone that does not think ballroom or swing dancing is not difficult or a work out, I challenge you to try it. A fast Lindy Hop will put me on the floor faster than a six-mile run any day.

1 comment:

Auntie said...

Is TH alive? Did you send him back?