Sunday, April 22, 2012
I had a very interesting weekend. I went to the New England Folk Festival conference - www.neffa.org/What_is_Festival.html aka NEFFA. I went with my singing group, Animaterra, www.animaterrasings.org/ and we presented a workshop with our leader called "Sing for Joy" on Saturday. Other than that we were on our own to attend workshops which were on all forms of folk singing and dancing. So I took the opportunity to learn Contra Dancing.
If you haven't heard of Contra Dancing, please look at this: www.sbcds.org/contradance/whatis/
It is sort of like square dancing in a line, but a bit modernized. It is derived from English Country Dance. You end up dancing with everyone in your line, but you progress along with a partner through the dance. So you dance with your partner, then a neighbor, then your partner, then you switch to a new neighbor, dance with them, then your partner, etc.. And it is expected that you change partners for each new dance (each song). So... I attended an Intro to Contra Dance class on Saturday. Danced with a friend at this first, but after she left, I danced with a hot guy (mid 30s). I was confused by the directions and forms, but enjoyed it and wanted to do more contra dancing.
Today I was excited to be able to do more contra dancing. I didn't have a skirt or dress with me, but I saw some vendors with dance dresses and skirts and planned to shop this morning. I found a dress I liked and got it - batik print in purple with little blue stars. Sleeveless! and an XL! It fit well and I felt sexy. At first I wore it like a jumper over my turtleneck. Then I went to the New Hampshire Barn Dance workshop. It looked like the dance was full at first, but when I went back in a few minutes, a tall handsome man about my age asked me to dance. In this workshop, we kept the same partner through all the dances. He was really sweet and I felt a strong connection to him, like we'd known each other forever. His name was Cedar, like the wood (yes, really, I can't make this stuff up.)
So after that, I was super sweaty and had to take off my turtleneck and put it in my bag. So now I was wearing my new sundress like it should be worn. I felt really good about myself. I felt sexy.. and confident in my body. I am still a big lady, but this IS the smallest I've been in about 15-20 years!
I went to the big Contra Dance in the biggest dance hall. It had about 250 people in there in four long lines dancing. So I was immediately invited to dance and agreed. Big mistake because I'd missed the intro. where the caller explained the forms - and this one included a bunch of Petronellas, which are extra spins that look cool, but OMG I got so dizzy! Plus every turn went clockwise with nothing counter clockwise to rebalance you.. So I thought I was going to pass out and had to stop and step out. I felt bad for that guy. Anyhow, after that dance was over I joined in again with a new partner. An older experienced dancer invited me to dance and was more than willing to help me when I told him I was a beginner and just had to stop from dizziness. He explained that that dance was dizzy-making and many people get dizzy, so not to worry. He helped me feel better and guided me along.
"Contra dance is a form of dance that thrusts a different person of the opposite sex into your arms every 30 seconds or so." LOL! But it is kind of true. You end up dancing with everyone in the line by the end of the song. Change lines and you dance with twice as many people.
After each dance I was almost immediately asked to dance by someone else, mostly younger men in their 30s, but at the end, one very hot young man in his low 20s invited me to dance. WOOHOO! Yes, being invited by him made me feel sexy. There were a lot of younger women there - and some older and much younger, too. There were fit healthy women and some much heavier, also. I don't know why he picked me, but I was flattered and I accepted. I mean, I think maybe feeling sexy and projecting that energy and self confidence probably helped catch some of the eyes.) This last dance was fun. :) By this point I was keeping up and not having dizziness issues. He taught me how to spin at the end of the swing, which is an optional move, really. Then when another neighbor started to spin me I was able to go with it and do it right. I can't begin to explain how good I was feeling about myself then! Later in the day, that same young man I danced with last acknowledged me and said hi when we were in another building, though he was with another young lady. I said hello and kept going. I think I must have blushed.. ;) My inner Sexy was awakened!
So anyhow, I'm really turned onto Contra Dancing. I have known several people who have moved to my area because of the Contra Dancing. I didn't realize this is particularly popular in northern New England, but it is spreading a bit more from here. It is great cardio! I got a super workout.. For the 100 minutes I danced, I got about 1100 calories burned according to the fitness tracker! I think so, too. ;) So another woohoo is that I was able to keep going and not get too winded to continue. I don't think I could have done that 30 lbs more ago. The dizziness was not shortness of breath, it was from spinning too much in one direction.
Oh yes, and lots of compliments from our chorus members on my weight loss. ;)
I'm glad I had some moments of feeling sexy and confident about my body today and I learned a new form of fun cardio.