Entry #488: In which I blab incessantly on dance-related topics

(sob) That’s it. My ten weeks of dance classes are finished, and I return to the world of ordinary stiffs.

At the end of each class is a “practical exam,” which historically has always translated into a review of the moves we learned throughout the term. (They just use a different name to fulfill some silly bureaucratic requirement.) Not so, in west coast! In WCS competitions there’s a category called Jack & Jill, where partners and the music they dance to are selected randomly. A subset of the entrants take the floor, dance (and are judged), and then yield to the next subset. [If you really care: judges rate individuals in the early rounds—so you aren’t completely out of the running if you draw a poor partner—and then couples in the later.]

Our practical exam, then, was a faux Jack & Jill competition (sans judging). We had three or four pairs out on the floor at a time, which was more than enough to cause a bit of performance anxiety for everyone involved—at least before, everyone else was too involved in their own mistakes to make note of yours. Though it wound up being fun, I don’t think I’m going to voluntarily put myself in that position too often.

In my hustle class our “practical exam” turned out to be watching some taped ballroom competition and trying not to gag at some of the inane commentary given by the female host. (How do you get to host a ballroom competition without knowing one iota about ballroom dancing?) A fellow lead and I made note of the cane that one guy accessorized his suit with, and our conversation soon went out into left field: the cane should conceal a sword; duels (and, inevitably, Zell Miller); the idea that two guys should walk to the center of the MU quad one afternoon with their canes, and then draw their swords and progress into a fierce fencing match. I also suggested an awesome ballroom dance choreographed between me and Kristy: we would separate and spread about ten feet apart, and then Kristy would do an astounding leap (full of twists) high into the air, over my head, and land ten feet on the other side of me. I assured her we would win the competition: “That Brent sure sucked, but damn is Kristy good!”

Sadly, I was not in top form for the last Wednesday night practice. (This was most apparent in my one WCS dance, where I started off perpendicular to all the other dancers and proceeded to fall apart from there. I seem to need a warm-up dance before I can be any good at west coast…. There was a silver lining, though, in that I had a good follow who taught me how to get out of my mess—not that I’ll ever get into it again, mind you.) That particular disaster was mitigated by the fact that I got to see, chat, and (sometimes) dance with a good number of my friends for the rest of the evening.

The music selection was terrible, though! Jay counted some nine or ten lindy hops (in contrast to one cha-cha), and the majority of the other songs were so slow and quiet that it was quite easy to lose their beat. (Only a handful of people know how to lindy hop; the vast majority can cha-cha.) Barry and I finally planned an uprising to find better music; he suggested that he go kick the people around the MP3 player, and I change the track. I agreed to that plan quickly, as it left him holding the bag when it came to the inevitable assault and battery charges that would follow.

Thank you, business law!

In early December there are two traditions that I am aware of. First: my office will hold its annual Christmas Holiday Party the weekend before finals. Second: I will not attend said party.

Historically, my reason has always been the need to study for my exams. This is the first year that I do not have that excuse—and this is the first year that I will attend that party.

The conversation that got me into this went as follows:

Brent: So I guess I won’t be attending the office party this year, either.

Office Manager: Why’s that?

Brent: I forgot to RSVP before the deadline.

Office Manager: Oh, no problem there. I’ll add your name—and you better be there!

Brent: Shit.

Next year I learn to mouth off the day before the party, and no sooner. On the plus side, I will finally determine what constitutes “dancing” at a doctor’s holiday party. (Club-style dance doesn’t fit my image of a semi-formal event that isn’t directly related to high-school, yet I doubt that many people know how any ballroom dances. Such mystery!)


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