Dancemax Letter #8, Thursday, July20, 2000
Music for Dancing
Well, Well, Well, in the last few letters we have been a little too technical, including the last letter on samba rhythm and timing. It's about time we had a lighthearted talk. So, I have come up with an idea that you will perhaps like. We will call this series "I went dancing last night". In this letter I will describe an experience, a fiction based on reality but will exaggerate and highlight some pertinent learning points. So here it is:
I went dancing last night.
It was really running late but then, I had promised Tami (Tamiko, my Japanese friend) that I would be there. So I thought what the heck, I will show up any way, I will have ½ an hour or so, will get a foxtrot, a rumba or whatever. I made it, and had approximately 40 minutes party time left. I sneaked in to the ballroom, hiding my shoe bag behind me so that I won't get noticed. I was afraid somebody might think I was being rude, especially Tami. I wanted to merge with the crowd, so I could tell her later, "Oh Tami, where have you been, I have been looking for you, you are always so busy, everyone wants to dance with you. It really worked out that way. She had been there most of the evening but had hardly noticed that I was late. She came a little late herself and then got so busy dancing that she was all covered with perspiration, her face flushed, looking pretty.
Tami loves to dance. She is very talented. She may not have taken many lessons but she has a knack for dancing. She has such good muscle memory that even if she has done that pattern once, she moves flawlessly. I guess you will call that a "keen dancer". She can follow anything but she likes International. She wants to be held close and wants to be lead by mid-body. I guess you call this, leading by the Center. They tell me, Center is usually somewhere by your sternum, or where your thorax joins your belly. I believe it remains more or less stationary in Ballroom Dances (Waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep and V.W.). Does it move down an inch for tango, up an inch for quickstep, well you decide. The point is she wants to feel the lead, some may say, "from the Diaphragm".
She loves International and it just happens that my favorite is Slow Foxtrot too. If I can do a couple foxes, a waltz, a rumba, I consider this to be a perfect evening. Well a perfect evening would be, that we could satisfy majority of people. So how about setting up a guideline. Let us split time 50-50 for Standard (Smooth) vs. Latin (Rhythm). How about!... Let's play three smooth, three rhythm, keep switching them in each set and just keep dancing merrily for rest of the evening, don't be too strict though. Disagreement so far? Shouldn't be. We all agree that Ballroom dances are Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep, and V.W. Latin includes the Rumbas, the Cha cha chas, Sambas, Swing or Jive and maybe just one Paso Doble. Now there are people who like other novelty dances too. So why not throw a couple of Hustle, a Mambo/Salsa, a West Coast Swing in between. How about a Polka and Lindy Hop, yes! why not but please keep it neat and clean.
Anyway I got carried away, where was I, I went dancing with Tami. We had about 30 minutes left by the time I put my shoes on and so forth. They had just finished a Waltz and I kind of missed it. Now came a Quickstep. The DJ gave us a few choices. He said we could do a Q.S., Jive, Swing or Lindy Hop to this music. It was going to be my first dance for the late evening, so I thought I would stretch a little and soon ask Tami for a quickstep. In 30 second that floor was taken over by Lindy hoppers, Swigers and Jivers and practice couples. I must have gone no more than 10 feet and we started bumping like in demolition derby. We tried a little lindy hop but Tami hates that, so we took to the seats and said, "we will try the next one".
It was announced, "Well, we are gonna play a Hustle now". We decided to wait. Then came Polka, of all the dances after a fast Hustle. People were "jumping" like you have never seen before. What level of energy and I wondered if it was "high hurdles" or a "horse race". There were still good 15 minutes left and I was sure a foxtrot was in the works, it would feel good after a Polka. It will simmer down the crowd (like simmer down of Saturday night live?) Nope, I was wrong. It was West Coast Swing and then came a Salsa. I didn't give up. I knew either a Waltz or Fox was coming, but then it was announced that we would play a Swing, and you better believe it; the tempo was like more than Jive or even Quickstep. We tried a little but couldn't keep up; by now we were looking at each other, I tried to keep my cool. This Swing kept playing for 5 minutes at least and I could see people falling out of the crowd like exhausted soldiers in a battlefield.
Oh, I forgot, there was a rumba in between somewhere. It played so fast, 35 measures per minute or so. We ended up doing a mambo to it, or at least we tried.
The end of the evening was announced and came some music with an eerie, male vocalist, no rhythm, neither gentle nor soft, and then so loud. This was supposed to be "the end", a mellow, soft and subtle music so people could change their shoes, hug and kiss each other and say goodbye's etc. By this time I had lost my kool and threw my shoes on the floor and really uttered some cussing words for which I was sorry later. A friend of Tami told me, "they played very good music all evening Max, and you came late". Tami said "I enjoyed it" and I said to myself, "you fool, what's your problem, can't u have a little fun".
I agree, this is a rude letter
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