Monday, November 17, 2008

Dancing Machine

Saturday, I went to a birthday dance party at Dema's apartment. I realized how much I miss dancing and like to dance. I just haven't done much of it lately....

My first dancing experience was a school talent show in grade 1. My best friends, Charlie, Landry, Johnny, and I, all dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (complete with brown paper bag heads), and danced around and spun on our "shells" through the Ninja Turtles television theme song. We were the most popular grade oners in school!

Another influence was the May Day festivities in elementary school and my mother teaching folk dances in our basement to the neighborhood kids. I don't remember too much of these, but I liked them.

I started going to organized dances in grade 6 when we would have dances just for the grade sixers. They were fun, even though no one actually knew how to dance. Apparently, we were the only age group that was responsible enough for these dances, since they would only be for the two grade six classes and they would be during school hours in the gym. I'm not sure how they advanced our education, but I remember them. :)

Church dances are where I really began to shine. I remember Abra taking me to my first youth dance (thanks Abra). She was 18 and was going to her last dance with her friends. I guess you could say she passed on the torch to her little brother. She and her friends taught me how to dance and I kept that style going until I left. I can honestly say that Mark Thompson, Tim Pederson, and I were the last people to dance like that and it is a style I still miss. Abra also made me promise to never miss a slow song and to dance with all the girls, not just the cute ones. I lived up to this promise and didn't miss a slow song for 3 1/2 years of Calgary dances. Consequently, I think I knew every girl in the region that went to the youth dances, much to the annoyance of my friends. The youth dances were every Saturday, they were regional, and gave me an opportunity to get out of High River (a town I never totally fit in to).

David, Mark, Logan, and I started a breakdance crew when I was 15. We weren't very good, but gave ourselves names. The crew was Breakin' Ground and my name was Flipz. We got better and were some of the top breakers in High River. Not that that is anything to brag about. It's not exactly your dancing haven. (I moved before Grade 12 and the rest of the crew became amazing - I stayed mediocre). We had a lot of fun practicing and learning new moves.

Breakdancing led to swing, and I was always partial to this (probably why I never put as much time into breakdancing as the others). We'd do stunts with the b-girls (like Sheena) and incorporate swing moves. As such, we became the top swingers at the youth dances. Of course, this was a t a time when being a good dancer was swaying in rhythm to the music and occasionally twirling a girl. Anything above and beyond that was fantastic!

Swing dancing led me to Utah to learn more moves at the youth ballroom dance camps. I was very much a beginner, but it was my passion. I suddenly found myself the ballroom guru of High River, even though I knew next to nothing. I did go back every year to improve my skills and ballroom quickly became my favorite contact sport, although hockey remains my favorite collision sport.

Moving to Utah, I quickly enveloped myself in the dancing culture, competing ballroom in grade 12 and throughout my undergrad years. I won a few competitions, was on team at BYU, and still take the odd class after 5:00. I also joined the International Folkdance ensemble at BYU and made the second highest team. Unfortunately, I joined near the end of my schooling and wasn't on the touring team because of it (although, if I had put off graduation for a year....).

The ballroom/folk opportunities, however, did have some concessions. Utah youth church dances were terrible. Sock hops at high school were fun and I went to every date dance, but I think I've been to two non-ballroom dances at BYU, a couple dance parties, and a couple institute dances, over the past seven years. The music and styles have certainly changed over that time. I do go county dancing at time, although the music is definitely not my favorite.

But Saturday night, I slipped a little into my old mold and danced just to have fun. Sure, it was mostly R&B and Latin, but that didn't matter. I just danced. It was great, and I realized how much I miss it. So, if you know of any dances going on, I'm game.


Nancy said...

Did you ever do May Pole dancing at Leigh?

Kelline said...

I remember helping with our neighborhood dance classes....that was fun!

I love dancing too. I wish I had more time for it, and the stamina.

David you are getting old enough to probably go to Dee Dances, they hold all over in slc and ut
They are LDS standard and are fun, if you bring your posy with you....kind of like the youth dances growing up, but for 25 +

David said...

Yeah, I remember may pole dancing at Leigh. And Kelli, I don't think I'm just ready for those yet. I mean, I'm only 25.

Myrna said...

I miss dancing too!!!!!! There is nowhere for an old lady without a partner to dance. Sigh.

Aquaspce said...

I like dancing too
I dance with kids all the time
I took a hip hop class last year with Kellee it was fun
I'm going to do it again.
Deklan likes Break dancing, will you teach him some moves Dave?

David said...

Sure, I can. I'm not nearly as good as I was when I was 14-18, but I'll show him the ropes. He can only get better at this age.