West Coast Swing Dancing
Friday, January 10, 2014
My mother is a dance teacher. She has owned and operated her own studio for the past ten years and has been dancing competitively and professionally for the past thirty. When I was younger I did not appreciate the world that she was trying to introduce me to – dancing was only ever something I felt obligated to do, not something that I enjoyed. I have a beginner’s knowledge of Salsa, Samba, Rumba, Cha Cha, Jive, Waltz, and East Coast Swing... but not West Coast Swing. NEVER West Coast Swing.
When you’re a kid and you are still formulating your views on the world, mostly without information to support these views, it is easy to think of West Coast Swing as “country” dancing because commonly it was paired with country music. I wasn’t aware that West Coast Swing is one of the most diverse and fun dances I’d ever encounter.
Growing up, I did not like West Coast Swing. Dare I say I hated it? Never would I ever participate in such a droll dance!
Towards the end of my highschool career I took a class or two with a girlfriend and we had a pretty great time together. My eyes were opened to the potential of the dance but still, dancing was NOT what I wanted to do – that was my sister’s thing and I was all about doing things differently back then.
Back in October I decided to jump back into it. Technically, I’m a natural dancer. I pick things up quickly and when I don’t, I obsess until I am able to complete the step perfectly. Because of this, my mother felt I would fit well in the Intermediate/Advanced program. She was right, although I still beat myself up a lot when I don’t immediately understand something she’s telling the class. I get frustrated easily especially when the perception of me, the teacher’s daughter, is that I should be better (because apparently a dance teacher’s daughter never has any other aspirations than dancing... huh?).
Last night was our first time back together as a class after the Christmas holidays. All of the familiar faces had returned and we were blessed with a few new faces as well. I had hoped, naively so, that perhaps the class might revert to an easier state to allow for the newer dancers to catch up, but no such luck. Instead we were learning how to do complex tucks and turns that end in super awesome leans. The leans are practically lunges (but graceful, sexy lunges) and my right knee felt like it might give out. I’m going to have to do some exercises to strengthen the joint and the muscles around it if I want to be able to keep up in this class.
I finally feel like I’m beginning to understand the more intricate manoeuvres of the dance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a LONG ways away from being even a remotely skilled dancer, but I’m showing promise and I’m enjoying it so I think I’m going to pursue it.
Does anyone else like to dance? If so, what’s your favourite dance?
If anyone is interested in lessons and lives in the Toronto area, here’s a link to my mother’s studio: