Dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese, Foxtrot, sort of Quickstep, Night-club 2-step, Cha-cha, Rumba, East-Coast Swing, West Coast Swing
Last Friday was definitely one of my favorite social dance outings so far. Jeff and I had both joined some of our dancer friends and traveled down to the San Francisco bay area for the weekend, to visit friends, dance, and for some, go to the City Lights Ball (where I danced a competition with Simeon last year). Starlight (now called Cheryl Burke, although apparently everyone calls it Starlight), is the dance studio Jeff used to frequent when he lived in the bay area, and he's told me a lot about it over time, and made me really want to dance there sometime. He still has some devoted fans there as well, as several of the regular ladies got so excited when he showed up.
What I liked about it was that there was a large floor, and they separated the ballroom dance party and the club dances into separate rooms, so for those more inclined to salsa, west-coast swing, and bachata, there was a smaller room, and for the ballroom, the large floor. Also, the upcoming and currently played dances were projected onto a large monitor by the floor, so you could see what dances were coming up and decide which ones you wanted to dance. I quickly discovered that this gave me a sort of virtual "dance card," as I ended up having multiple leads "reserve" me for upcoming dances. Now while that was quite flattering, sometimes I didn't particularly want to dance again with some of them...at least, after dancing a jive I didn't necessarily want to book a waltz with a certain lead, but it's much harder to say no to a "reservation" than in the moment to say, "Oh, thank you, but I am going to sit this one out." Jeff laughed at my predicament and told me to just say it was already reserved...which of course I hate doing if it's not true. But he was good enough to ask me ahead of time about certain dances so that I could truthfully say..."I'm sorry! Already dancing this one with someone." I guess I can't complain. :)
There were a lot of dancers there, and it seemed no shortage of leads, which was a nice change. It seems like they all wanted to dance too. I got the impression that most of them were taking dance lessons or classes, as many I danced with appeared to be following routines and at great pains to make sure they got them right, but I had no problem with that. At least they were really making an effort to dance well, and since I'm the same way I really appreciated it. Many of the dancers I'm used to locally are in it purely for the fun social aspect, which is fine, but sometimes it seems like they don't really care about how well they're leading you, the follow, or care at all about improving.
The music was good, the dancing was lively and there was lots of it, and finally, one of my very best friends from my college years showed up with her boyfriend! I hadn't seen her in probably two years, so it was so much fun to visit with her, show her and the boyfriend a few steps, and see them get out there on the dance floor and join the fray. Of course, she hadn't seen me dance since college, so she was interested to see what I'd been devoting so much time too since we graduated almost three years ago. I think they both thought that the tango was the highlight. Compared with last week, I thought Jeff and I danced well. Tango was pretty together, and I don't know how it felt for Jeff, but I thought I had my body position a little more figured out so I wasn't being so heavy on him. It felt lighter, anyways. Plus, yay for the huge floor! We had a good time trying to take up the space, though we couldn't quite fill it with some of our routines. I guess we're just not accustomed to having that much leg room.
We ended up leaving before the dance was over because a couple of our friends in our group wanted to go to the hotel where the competition was to meet up with our coaches, so I rather begrudgingly changed back in to my street shoes.
That night I danced a lot with different leads, had some nice smooth dances with Jeff, and sat out visiting with one of my long-lost friends for some time. I didn't get too tired and actually enjoyed making a spectacle of myself in a brand new dance scene. It doesn't get much better than that!