Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three Generations of Dancers

"Mom, I wanted to thank you for passing on your love of dance to me."

My mom grew up going to dances with her parents. She spent her childhood dancing and took a break around college, then starting up again after I came along into this world. Some of my early childhood memories are of going to dances with my parents, watching them dance together, and sleeping under the chairs. I was so eager to start dancing myself, but age restrictions made me wait.

Finally, I got my chance to dance. Mom started driving me to weekly social dances back in 1997, right after my seventh birthday. What dance did I start off on?

Square dancing. Modern western square dancing.

Heck. Yes.

I had a love-hate relationship with my poofy petticoats partnered with skirts covered in Bugs Bunny, rainbow frogs, and gingham that soon filled my closet.

In 1998, I competed in my first dance competition at the Pacific Northwest Teen Square Dance Festival.
Around 2002, I got to compete in calling for the first time. 2004, learned to clog.

Around 2000, they started me on partner dances. Two-step. Waltz. Later on, cha-cha came along as a new rhythm to play with.

I found myself dancing 2-3 times a week between normal teen nights, nights at the "adult" clubs, and square practices. We would get up to practice at 7:30 AM in the morning either at the hall at Lake Stickney or in my own basement. Two hours of drilling the moves.

And, now, 14 years later, I'm still dancing. A bit different flavours, different venues, but it's still what get's me out of the house the most.

On the dance floor, people frequently ask about dance roots.
"Where did you get started?"
and that's when I get to confess that my roots are in any dance you would do in a barn.

Now, when in Seattle, I like to get out on the dance floor as much as possible.
Mondays - Square Dance at the Tractor Tavern
Tuesdays - Blues
Thursday - Contra & Blues
Friday - Contra & Blues [rarely]
Saturday - Contra
Sunday - Fusion

Dancing. It's been my social life more than any other venue of meeting with folks.

And I owe a lot of it to my mom. I'm not sure if I would've made it onto the fusion dance floor if I hadn't started back in '97.

See, I got to fusion through hops in the dance world, all starting with square dancing.

I found the traditional square dancing world (vs. modern western) around 2010 when I heard about it through some internet source and was curious about how it compared to my square dance upbringing. So different!

That flowed into contra dancing.

Contra dancers blues danced and took me to my first 1/2 of a blues dancing night and drove me to my first alt-blues recess.

From blues dancing I found fusion.

Dancing is something that becomes something of an identity.
I am a dancer.
And I like it...

Not the best dancer. But I'm a dancer and I like to move when music is playing - just like my mom and grandma.

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