Dance, Dance, Dance

When I was in grad school at University of Florida in 1980, disco was King. A friend of mine persuaded me and some of her other friends to take a free intro disco class. A dance studio was giving free one hour lessons once a week for four weeks. They hoped that after the free class you’d sign up and pay for a longer intermediate class to learn the really flashy moves.

I took the four week class but not the intermediate. I learned enough of the basics to have some fun on the dance floor on weekends. The floor was so packed that you didn’t have enough room to do much turning anyway, so there was no point learning the flashy moves.

Last week, I took a group intro dance class which is $8 for 90 minutes. The class is five weeks; I thought I’d only missed one week but I’d missed two weeks.

The class is taught on a “rolling” basis. Three dances each week, beginning with the basics and then adding more steps each week and, at some point, one dance dropping off and a new one coming in.

First dance was the “two step.” All we learned was the basic steps: two “fast” steps followed by two “slow” steps. The “slow” step is half the time of the “fast” step. That was easy enough.

The second dance was the waltz. Yes, as in “The Blue Danube” and other classical music era dances during the days of royalty. All we learned was the basic three steps to dance the “box.” Guy steps forward with left foot, then right foot, then closes with left foot to right foot. Then, step back with right foot, step back with left foot, close with right foot to left foot, and you’re back to where you started. Simple enough.

But when we had to change “facing” so we ended up facing another wall, that was where I began to lose pace. Not so simple…

Most of the remaining class time of about 45 minutes was devoted to east coast swing. In class, the guy begins with weight on the right foot and then takes a “normal” step forward with his left foot, followed by two quick, smaller steps with the right foot to come up to the left foot. (That’s the “triple step.”) Then, a “rock, step” in which one foot “rocks” by staying on the ball of the foot and not going all the way down to the heel.But apparently, the dance can also begin with the “rock, step” and then go into the triple step.

That wasn’t too bad, but from that point it unraveled. Because now there was a quarter turn and other steps that left me confused. I wish the class just focused on one dance at a time. Much easier to remember than when you’ve just learned steps from other dances are and are trying to keep them all straight.

So the plan now is to sit out the last two classes and start the intro class from the beginning. From disco, I learned that the man has got to knwo his part because he leads. if he’s good he can lead a woman into doing the right steps just from momentum. But if the man doesn’t know his part, a woman doesn’t have as easy a time getting him to “lead.”

I still like ’60s style dancing…

The classic dance scene from “Pulp Fiction…


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