At my last lesson some months ago, I agreed to come to another one of the Friday night parties. I did so because I liked Instructorman and had a lot of fun as his student. But then I remembered just how interested the studio folks were last year when I went on vacation instead of going to their big dance competition. I got asked so many times why I wasn’t going that I got to a point where I almost wanted to scream, “YES I’M GOING TO VEGAS TO EAT EVERYTHING AND GET FAT THERE AND LOVE IT AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!” I kept my mouth shut because I’m an adult and all that, and instead, I stuck to my tried-and-true tactic of politely repeating the same information. Yes, I’m going to Vegas, not the competition. Yes, I’m going to Vegas, not the competition. Yes, I’m going to …
Going to the Friday party meant I would probably be subject to similar well-intentioned but rather pointed questions about why I’m not dancing at Mystery Studio anymore. They’re the kind of questions that make you realize even though you friended everybody on Facebook, your relationship with the studio and its instructors is, in the end, deeply related to their bottom line.
And now that it’s been so long, I think the window for going has come and gone.
Finding a new place to dance is slowly ongoing. Chain studios are out of the running due to the similar costs.
In terms of integrating dance into my daily schedule, alas, no place is closer than Mystery Studio. That means I have to start calculating in lesson time vs. drive time. Say it takes me a half hour to get there, and another half hour to get back – is forty-five minutes of dance time worth the total hour lost in the car? Is fifty minutes on the dance floor? An hour?
As far as style goes, the now former Significant Other talked up West Coast swing as well as lindy hop as good options. From his description, blues dancing will probably not be my thing, on either a skill level (mine’s too low to have a chance in hell of looking like I know what I’m doing) or social one (it apparently attracts a fair share of “creepers,” who will almost certainly irritate the bejeesus out of me).
So I signed myself up for a small West Coast swing class at a local center the other Friday.
1. The gathering hinted at a scene that is indeed more laid back, in more ways than one. I shall call the teacher my group had Bananaman, as he was wearing a shirt with bananas on it, and a name like that is just too good to pass up.
2. The event organizer also taught the more advanced class. She seemed highly involved in general, and managed to slip away from other conversations long enough to talk to me after class while I was prepping to depart. Interestingly, she was quite observant, and identified my background as East Coast or maybe Lindy Hop right off the bat.
1. This particular group, though convenient in location and meeting time, was very small, and not a whole lot of folks were my age. The event organizer specifically recommended other options, noting that she really wanted me to be able to see more of the active scene. The challenge here, of course, is that these options aren’t as easy to get to and would involve either taking mass transit or parking in places where it’s probably easier to win the lottery.
2. It also highlighted a social difficulty that often occurs in group classes, and it’s one I don’t know whether I’m entirely ready for or not: sooner or later, somebody in your class is going to hit on you. At this particular event there was one gentleman (who I am sure is generally very nice) who was a little too interested for my comfort. I swear I wasn’t just imagining things, either. In our society, whenever a non-friend man compliments you on your necklace and even tells you the brand, he’s interested. The only plainer signal would be him trying to give you his number, and I left before risking that.
Worse, when the class is as small as this one was (there were two male students, one male teacher, and three female students) and you rotate partners, there’s simply no escape. You are going to have to deflect this person’s attention repeatedly over the course of the night. It’s like a few minutes of polite torture followed by a few minutes of relief when you have other partners, and this gets repeated over and over until the class ends.
Instructorman worked long and hard to get me to stop looking at the floor. Even though I knew better from a dancing perspective, I started looking at the floor again because the fellow misconstrued eye contact as interest on my part, and as a result it was just a lot easier to pretend that I was focusing on the path I was supposed to do my steps along.