Sunday, August 5, 2007

It's Only Natural

We received an invitation from some friends to come dancing at The Starlite Ballroom last night. Zirpu didn't feel like it, but I went. I've been hearing about this place for years, so I was interested in checking it out. It's in a totally unassuming location, part of what looks like a business park, and has only a small sign. However, the place is quite large inside, with a big main dance floor and two smaller floors as well, one of which was being used as practice space last night.

Zirpu and I have been on a break for a couple months and so it's been a while since I've been on a dance floor. I found myself a corner and did some basics to get warmed up, as it usually takes me about three dances to get in the groove of things. As the Starlite is well air-conditioned and large, I was getting chilled, but I didn't want to ask anyone until I was ready. I didn't want to embarrass myself making mistakes I know how to avoid.

Dancing socially with people I don't know is always an adventure. The AM style is designed to meet adjudicated standards and is very formal in comparison to the dance that people who learned in less formal environments in group classes and from friends. I don't know how to describe this, other than maybe the difference between marching and walking. They both get you where you're going, but one is more purposeful than the other. I can tell within a few moments how much experience my partner has and can usually adjust for that. Styling is different, but if the lead is strong I can follow that no matter what (and I keep count in case I get lost). I figure that can adjust my formality "down" when I'm dancing with non-AM people, if I need to do so, because there are good dancers out there with whom I can have fun.

When the DJ started the last waltz, I asked a man nearby if he would like to dance. You can tell when they do: First of all, if someone is still wearing their dance shoes, he or she is not done yet. Also, the men tend to lean toward the floor, as if they're being pulled by their heads.

I like the last waltz. Not because it's the last dance of the evening, but because everyone who's left wants to dance that dance. People really put their all into the last dance.

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