As part of my effort to a) be more social, and b) figure out what to do with my arms while dancing (see previous posts: Zumba and Azonto), I decided to give swing dancing a try. A quick Google search confirmed that drop-in, introductory lessons were available in my area. I intended to go regardless of whether or not I would know anyone there. That said, I (M) tossed out an invite to my coworkers (C):
M: So, I'm going to go swing dancing on Saturday. Do you want to come? The intro drop-in lesson is $5, and there's an open practice night.
C1: Actually, I would like to go!
M: That's great!
I turned to another coworker.
M: Me and C1 are going swing dancing on Saturday. You should come!
C2: Yeah, maybe. We'll see.
M: C1 and I are going swing dancing on Saturday. C2 might come, too. You should totally join us. It's going to be great.
C3: I actually love swing dancing!
Who knew I had such cool coworkers?
Anyhow, I invited all eight of my coworkers and successfully recruited two of them for the event (and a third joined us for post-dance drinks). My two recruits were both male. I'm sure the instructor (I) was trying to figure out just what exactly was going on when we walked in together, because he said:
I: You're going to have to choose between your boys to partner up for the lesson.
Slightly awkward situation given that I don't really know either of these guys especially well. But, I'm not going to lie, it is fun walking into a dance lesson sandwiched between two boys. I chose C1 to start. In spite of our great enthusiasm, we did not demonstrate any real natural swing dance talent. In fact, we somehow ended up moving backwards at a furious pace every time we danced together -- numerous near-collisions with walls, posts, a desk, other people. Luckily, C1 found this situation as hilarious as I did, and we spent most of the lesson laughing. C3 can actually dance. He's a good lead. We didn't laugh as much, but I was glad he came out for the evening.
During the practice session, I was asked to dance by some of the other male attendees.
Excerpt from conversation between one of these guys (G) and me (M) past the midway point in the song we were dancing to:
G: Do you know the basic the step for this style?
I thought that was a very nice way of telling me I wasn't especially good. My beginner lesson had been in East Coast swing. This, I learned, is not the same thing as West Coast swing. My fake-it-til-you-make-it strategy failed. On the bright side, the male leads in both East Coast swing and West Coast swing - meaning that the guy essentially decides what the girl needs to do with her arms at all times. This appeals to me.
C1 and I have already made plans to go swing dancing again this weekend. We intend to become superstars by the end of the year (watch out, So You Think You Can Dance!). And, we are going to convince our other coworkers they all secretly harbour desires to become really good swing dancers so that our workgroup kicks butt at the next work talent show.