So starting the second day, my body started pushing back, telling me, "Rik, you aren't 25 anymore." I was falling asleep all day and night, during class, during the dances, during the camp meeting… basically all the time. My dancing has certainly not in top form, but I pushed through the fatigue. That must mean … something. Perhaps just that I am stubborn in my old age.
We had Todd Yannacone and Ramona Staffeld teaching us today for class, who are both great teachers. Todd is just really smart at explaining the dynamics of dance connection and coming up with ways to get us being intentional and clear in our leading and following. And Ramona is just an inspiration with her enthusiasm and joy of the dance itself.
We focused on a few important lead/ follow issues. But the most interesting for me was learning how to lead moves with just the right hand, instead of the typical left hand lead. Re-learning how to do something but from a different perspective is always good at challenging assumptions and lazy habits. In particular, using your opposite hand for something does completely challenge you to lead well, even with this limitation.
Anna, a follower from Australia, mentioned how great it felt for her to be led from her left hand. "It's like RSI (repetitive stress injury.) You are always working just one side of your body all the time, and it feels good to engage the other side."
Here's a quick video of Anna and I attempting the movements Todd and Ramona taught.
Last night's party was my least favorite of Herrang: Slow Drag. — better known as "Blues Night". I have nothing against blues music or dancing to blues music in the right context. Typically that context is being with a special someone that I want to get intimate with, as a live blues band plays.
Slow Drag is when all the ladies and gents get prettified in their fine dresses and suits, and then try and get all sexy with each other in a dark and sweaty ballroom, as slow 1930s jazz plays. Not really my scene.
That said, I enjoyed the performances that began Slow Drag. There were a couple of impressive cabaret-type numbers to start the dance off. The first was a sexy burlesque act involving flaming torches and then Sharon Davies singing a sultry "Why Don't You Do Right?" Afterwards, there was what can only be described as a "blues snowball." I.e. two people started dancing blues toward the front, and then there were four, and ten, and soon whole room. I left soon afterwards.
I got no help in the library, where the DJ was playing music for balboa, another dance I'm not a huge fan of. And in the bar they had set up for tango dancing, which I have zero skills in as well. That left the dance barn as the only refuge for anyone like me that actually wanted to dance swing. I had a decent time in there, but it was weird feeling literally thrown out in the cold because I was there to lindy hop.
Later on, Spuds and I had fun hanging out in the cafe and later the "secret bar," for those in the know in another part of the camp. Wow, I was getting to hang out with the "cool kids" at camp! Except they were already too drunk to even acknowledge me. Awww. Whateves.
At around 3AM I headed back to the dance barn to get in a few more fun dances before retiring at 4:30. The party was still going strong….