Tuesday Feb 20

Posts Tagged ‘dance’

Heading to a Long Weekend of Dance
Last Updated on Monday, 21 July 2008 11:48
Written by JJ
Friday, May 23rd, 2008

After many days, weeks and months of working on various customer and company projects, I’m taking the weekend off! (Yes, I usually work weekends and use the time to read, review and catch up.)

Most of my dance peeps have already trekked down to Atlanta for the 2008 USA Grand Nationals  Dance Comp- a professional show of Shag and West Coast Swing dancers from across the country. I’ll be heading out in just a few hours with one of my friends to join the flock.

In case you haven’t kept up with previous posts, I used to compete in Shag (looong ago), then American Ballroom and, most recently, West Coast Swing. This event is the perfect spot to see fellow friends and dancers from today and yesteryear.

Because of my work schedule, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus for the past couple of years. I won’t be competing here, but it’s a great competition to watch and the best group of people around!

I’m excited and I hope to get back on the photo-taking bus and have lots of fun and goofy shots to share next week.

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Yes- I’m a Dancer
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 August 2008 03:41
Written by JJ
Monday, February 11th, 2008

And no, not that kind. For some strange reason, in the past 6 weeks or so, there seems to be a great interest in my long-time hobby. An uncanny number of customers, partners and colleagues recently have either stumbled upon online competition results or chatted about it in passing. Everyone asks me about it…  

So- Yes- I’m a Dancer. In recent years, I’ve been most active in West Coast Swing and Ballroom, but my dance habit started long ago and far away, when I was a wee lass taking the obligatory ballet class.There were a few detours- it wasn’t long before I traded in the ballet slippers for a gymnastics leotard… and after I mastered the balance beam, I traded up (well, or just traded) for pom-pons. Yep, I was a cheerleader from middle school up, but it wasn’t all prissy-pants. My high school years I also busted butt on the Track Team, running sprints and (believe it or not) hurdles and jumps.

Finally I came back around and took a Called Ballroom Dance Class at my high school. It was more reminiscent of square dancing- steps were called aloud and we did them in unison. In my excitement I dragged our entire hall to the class, so of course we were short on ‘gents. To ease the mismatch, I learned the guys part and suddenly the world of dance was my playground.

I knew I wanted to learn more ballroom, but I actually began my competitive dance life with Shag (Carolina Shag, in case you’re reading from Europe ;) ). During those years, I had the pleasure of working with several Shag hall-of-famers and really came to love the people and culture of the dance- I’d later learn there’s no other like it.

Ballroom was still in the back of my head, and when my previous partner and I split up, I exited the Shag scene for a long time and found myself in a ballroom studio. It’s hard to have relationships in, around and with the dance world, so often my dancing caused issues and it was during one of those times that I took another break. Eventually I jumped back on the horse and did a little competitive American Ballroom. Everyone looks so snooty on tv, but most of the ballroom crowd is fun, crazy and quirky and I had a blast in the studio lessons, parties and at comps. We could go anywhere, any time and dance to any music.

One of my good friends at the time was also dabbling in various dances, and he dragged me on the floor to try some West Coast Swing one night. I sucked. It was horrible. All my Shag training had me instinctively doing everything I shouldn’t be doing in Swing, and the two dances were so close I couldn’t get out of the rut. After a No-Shag time, and some great coaching, I finally got it and I went in head first! I found myself competing at events, dance captain of a local team and dancing on another semi-pro competitive team. I was Swingin’ 8 nights a week!

During this time I experimented with other dances, including some Belly Dancing, Lindy and a touch of Balboa. (Don’t tell anyone, but I even competed in some Country/Western divisions… boots an’ all.) They’re all great and I encourage everyone to try it- especially if it’s been a burning secret desire. There’s no magic to it- if you practice a lot you’ll be good- if you don’t practice a lot, learn it socially and you’ll have a blast at clubs and parties.  

I’ve met a lot of people through dancing, many of whom I consider my closest friends. My work schedule doesn’t always allow for frolicking on the dance floor (you don’t get your CISSP and Master ASE in 6 months if you’re dancing 24/7).

So these days, I have to squeeze it in when I can, but it’s one of the few things I’d never trade. I’ve come full circle and make it my adult ballet classes when possible (FYI, the leotards were much cuter in size 2 pink). There’s something wonderful about the freedom and creativity of dance… and being able to enjoy the experience with so many friends.

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