Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Dancing Fool

When I was younger and rock was most of the music I listened to or danced to, dancing was whatever you did when you got up off your bar stool. Sometimes it was hot, and sometimes it was kind of wobbly. Which one might depend on how late in the evening it was, and how many drinks it took to get ready to dance.

Then a number of years ago, a woman who I was working with at the Renaissance Festival suggested that I try contra dancing. I had never heard of it until that moment, but upon her recommendation, I went and tried it, and I liked it right away. The musicians playing acoustic instruments, the caller keeping everyone moving in beautiful patterns together. Yes, with this kind of dancing, it is not a free for all, it is dancers working together to create something beautiful. And when I was nervous about starting my first dance, a woman came up to me and asked me to dance. And I have kept dancing ever since. I like it that in this kind of dancing women ask men to dance just as commonly as men ask women.

One of the guys I met there was picking up flyers for all kinds of dances, not just contra, but swing, salsa, Cajun, Irish, waltzing, all kinds. I asked him if he really did all that.

He said yeah. "I used to be over weight. Then I took up dancing, lost weight and I have kept the weight off just by dancing as much as I can. This is my whole fitness program. Dancing. I don't go to gyms and lift weights or chase balls around courts, run races or any of that. What's more fun, lifting weights or dancing with women?"

There are lots of good reasons to dance. This is one of them.

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