Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Immensely Satisfying

Back again, this time from the wilds of the north. Northern Indiana and Ohio, that is.

One of the more interesting events was attending a dance with second eldest brother. Now, where said brother learned to dance so well, I can not say. All I know is that he always has been able to swivel those hips and slide those feets, even on roller skates.

So, he takes me to a dance but didn't tell me that it was a SINGLES dance. Rat Bastard.

Here we are, just before leaving. Like that lamp growing out of my head?

It was a fairly large gathering in Angola, Indiana at the American Legion hall. We arrived early, and I was able to observe, as if I were an anthropologist visiting the natives of some scandinavian village, a line dancing class. At first, I was amused - I mean, what is it about moving in unison that white people like so much........

Wait a minute, I thought, it's the same reason that I loved marching band - to be a part of a larger whole, a community. Also? It was fun. Dorky? No doubt, but fun. And these people, the serious-faced, the smiling, the beginners, the agile, and the flat-footed were having fun being part of a group. Without being laughed at.

As I sat there, I compared it to folk dancing in Europe in the last century, and to ballroom dancing in the 19th century. One learned the moves in order to participate, and one moved just like every one else, in unison. The more in unison, the better. One danced to be social, to celebrate, to mingle and meet, to maybe get a chance to get close to that handsome man or beautiful woman.

So, I danced, too. Not line dancing, because I am retarded and can't follow direction, but I slow danced several times and again, my inner anthropologist kicked in and I became an observer. One fellow had come from Akron, Ohio (!) (apparently not uncommon,) and was a little socially awkward. I asked him what he did, and discovered that was a data programmer. Ahh, I diagnosed, Asperger's syndrome. Over the evening, he must have danced with twenty different partners, so good for him, I thought.

Then there was something akin to The Grand March, in which the women lined up along one side of the room, and the men along the other, and the head of each line then met and danced in the middle, down to the tail of the line. It was considered poor form to step out of line if one did not care for one's upcoming partner. I found it to be a lot of fun and, if one were actually single, a great way to meet people.

My brother was extremely popular, and I found him to be more gracious than I could ever have imagined, as he danced with so many different women - the good, the bad, the plain, and the pretty.


Knitting Linguist said...

What a wonderful description -- I love your anthropological take on the dance; it's my favorite way to look at things. I remember asking a professor of mine who'd trained as an anthropologist how she once handled an awkward field situation -- she looked at me and said, "It's all data." That's gotten me through a lot of awkwardness since :)


Thank you! I really did have a good time, but the scholarly filter helped.