Category Archives: Dancing

A Very Long Day

I woke up this morning around 4:30 or 5:00; long before the alarm clock’s scheduled cacophony. That happens now and again; usually I just drift back to sleep. Not today.
This morning as I lay in bed, my mind started drifting. First to a British sitcom I’ve recently encountered called Coupling. It’s meant to be a British version of Friends. The bare handful of episodes I’ve seen have been entertaining. (Who needs a TV when you have video streaming?)
Somehow my mind next drifted to dancing.
First to Blues dance. I’ve just finished two months of lessons and although I enjoy the dancing, it can be frustrating at times. Partly because I expect myself to be a lot better with it by now, partly because I’m having trouble “getting” the music (which makes it hard to dance to), and partly because I’m having trouble finding time to practice – either at home or at a dance. They have a Blues dance almost every Thursday at Glen Echo — Back Room Blues, but Thursday just seems to be a tough night to get away. There’s one on Sunday in the bumper car pavilion; perhaps I’ll make it to that one.
My mind wandered back and forth from Blues dance to Swing. It’s been somewhere around a year-and-a-half since the first time I tried Swing. I just took another month of classes on that one too as a sort of “refresher course.” I’ve known the basics of Charleston since last summer and now I have a handle on the mechanics of the turn-back variation. There’s a bit of frustration here too from the lack of finding (making?) time to practice. Plus I’ve come to realize that my leading can be a bit sloppy at times. I know the answer to that one at least: Practice, practice, practice. (Do they have dancing at Carnegie Hall? What about the Kennedy Center? Not that I’m nearly comfortable enough to dance for an audience of more than one.)
A little before 6:00 I decided that since my mind had already been racing around for a while, I might as well get up and get the day started.
It’s going to be a long one.

Dance Floor Rules

I have two main rules for what not to do on the dance floor:

  1. Don’t steer the follower into other people.
  2. Don’t knock her over either

I’ve mentioned these rules to several women and so far they’ve all agreed that these were good rules.
During one of this evening’s songs, another lead did an overly enthusiastic rock step and crashed into my dance partner. He didn’t knock her over, but it definitely knocked her off balance.
Fortunately, she agreed that there’s not much I can do when another lead steers himself into my follower. The incident goes onto his dancing record, not mine.

Musical Surprises

The band at Glen Echo on Saturday was Phil Ogilvie’s Rhythm Kings, aka PORK. (Naturally, some of the promotion for the event included a joke or two relating to economic stimulus packages.)
I wouldn’t have thought of a sousaphone as part of the instrumentation for a swing band, but I have to admit, the guy playing it did a great job of filling in for the non-existent string bass. (Though a few unexpected blasts certainly raised your awareness.)
The other surprising bit of instrumentation was a gong. The actual playing of the gong was very subtle and not overly noticeable unless you happened to be looking at the time. But the visual of a gong sitting behind the percussion set up was enough that I kept expecting a Jackie Chan movie to break out.
Given that the band had something of a Dixieland sound, the movie probably would have been Jackie Chan meets the Dukes of Hazzard.