On a recent swing dance night, I mustered the nerve to sever myself from the wallflowers and ask for a dance, and I truly held my own during a middle-of-the-road version of "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen." Confident, I remained on the dance floor for the next song, and my partner obliged. We cut the proverbial rug like two pros until he decided to introduce me to a spin-and-flip combination.
Kind enough to explain the trick ahead of time, he led me through a trial run and, man, I had that spin, spin and stop down. So we proceeded (without caution) to carry out the "real thing." Let me just say, I wowed the crowd with my flip and damn-near perfect landing. But more so I wowed them with my inability to tie a wrap-around dress.
Having been involuntarily scantily clad in the midst of hundreds, I can assuredly recommend three things when swing dancing: Use safety pins if your attire may at any time fly open and off one arm, wear "full-coverage" instead of your daily skivvies and, to avoid all embarrassment, learn the steps from the pros.
Despite that, I've decided I need another chance. I'll put forth all the effort again, but put a bit more time into preparation. I hoped for a sign, a signal that it was time to step back out on the dance floor. Anyone who knows me and my predilection for injury is wincing at the thought of my toe nearing any sort of hardwood flooring, but I gotta dance. And I'm going to dance my ass off for seven hours under the guidance of professionals in channeling the dancer within.
When I gaze up at the entrance to the "Original House of Swing," known to the less hep as the Sons of Hermann Hall, Saturday, I may feel a twinge of panic, cottonmouth and jacked-up sense of humility. But that's exactly why I'm going. The Summer Swing Workshop is my chance to remedy the fears that began with a swing trick-cum-impromptu exotic showcase. The workshop touts "All Levels," so surely they will be prepared for a girl like me, well-versed in classical styles but scarred by performances past. I think I could be a good dancer again; I do predict that six professional dance instructors can move that hope a bit closer to present day.
But I am realistic. I don't expect to win the scheduled dance contest, or even one of the door prizes. I do expect that by Saturday night two things will have happened. I may become a success at Smooth Style Lindy, Balboa, Charleston and assorted tricks, a.k.a. moves that look really cool and impressive. Or I will be seen with any of the assorted braces and supports I've collected from my occasional injuries, a.k.a. attire that looks really uncool and pathetic. Either way, I will have tried my best to overcome the past and a related phobia of clothing that ties. Sore and tired or broken and sprained, I will value the lessons (for which I will have paid a mere $40) and the bulk-size containers of ibuprofen that reside in my nightstand, medicine cabinet, desk and purse.
Seeing as how my last dance partner suffered an ocular injury from an escaped sash flying haphazardly and ever-so-slightly akimbo, my only remaining dilemma is finding a courageous dance partner to brave the historic Sons of Hermann ballroom with me. Care to dance?