Saturday, August 13, 2011

Social Dancing, Chinese Style

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese, Tango, Night-Club 2, Swing, Cha-cha, Bolero
Hovers: 0

Friday night Jeff and I had been invited to join some dance friends for dinner and social dancing at a Chinese restaurant that features live music and a dance floor, all included for the price of dinner, which was fairly reasonable. This was at Ocean City in Seattle's China town, and in our group at one table we had about eight people, some Asian, some not...friends from the Washington Dance Club, etc.

I didn't find the food anything to write home about...but I'm not Chinese so I'm really not the best one to judge since I don't have a lot of experience with the cuisine, though I've had some I liked much better. I kind of liked the idea of eating a little bit, dancing a little, eating a little, and dancing a little though. The live music was not amazing, but it was still fun, and it was different. The floor was small, and when there were lots of dancers on it; it was worse than Danceworks from a floor crafting perspective. I'm really spoiled with Jeff though, because I don't realize sometimes just how great those Asian driver skills are until I dance with other leads on floors that crowded.

I danced a number of dances with Jeff and with a couple of other guys who were at our table. It was one of those venues where all are purely social dancers, some knew a few steps...and some were just making it up as they went, so as the only competitively trained couple there...we kind of stuck out and people kept getting on us to dance every standard dance we sat down for. No one could convince Jeff to try quickstep on that floor, and I certainly didn't try. One dance felt particularly good even on that tiny floor: Viennese Waltz. I don't know what it is, but we just seem to move very well together in this dance...even though I know I cheat (like I miss some heel leads and other things). Our connection felt lower this time and I've been working on swinging my body beneath my head versus moving my head independently...and I think it's working much better. We've gotten some compliments on it recently too from friends who have seen us dance it all along, so maybe it really is getting better. Who knows? Sometimes feeling can be deceiving. Viennese is still one of my favorites; when I first started it was my favorite, but foxtrot trumped it quite some time ago. Viennese doesn't have enough complexity and variety to compete with foxtrot, but it's more the adrenaline high that you get from rotating and moving and swinging at that speed that makes it such fun.

One thing that cracked me up was how at random points during some of the songs, a whole group of people would get out on the floor and just start doing basic dance steps all lined up in a row, so Jeff immediately dubbed them "group class." We never quite knew when "group class" was going to start up, so it was a little hairy in floor crafting terms. One of our Chinese friends at our table informed me that she didn't know why (she found it just as odd as I), but they "just behave like that sometimes." She had been there on a number of occasions, and she said this was standard behavior. Apparently "group class" is a strange "behavior" that can be often observed among dancers dining peacefully at Ocean City.

All in all, we had a good time. It was different, not something I'd want to do every week, for sure, but a fun way to mix it up. The evening ended with bubble tea (I feel like I'm definitely becoming an honorary Asian these days) and Jeff helping one of our friends pull her car out of a ridiculous parking space in the sketchy parking garage beneath the restaurant. No more dancing until Monday night, when we plan to be back on task with our practices. This past week I felt was overall a good week of practices, so I hope the trend continues into the coming week.

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