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Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Autobiography, Chapter 13: Dancing Machine!!

I have always loved to dance, but was shy about it in public for most of my life.  It was extremely awkward for me when I was in high school.  In college, I loosened up by dancing a lot at the Statesmen Disco and the Inn Between Bar in Geneseo.  I took a Folk Dance class in college because my roommate was taking it.  He told me there were a couple dozen girls and just a few guys.  Sounded good to me!  I signed up for the class and we had the same ratio of guys and girls.

That's how I met Mary.  The lesson of the day was the waltz, and I used to brag that the first thing we ever did together was dance the waltz.  After awhile, my shyness started to kick in again and the only person I ever felt comfortable dancing in public with with was Mary.  We grew apart over the past decade, and our "perfect marriage" of 32 years came to an end.  But that's another story.

So, being alone, I booked a cruise out of Houston to the Caribbean in March of 2016 and met a whole bunch of solo travelers.  We had an absolute blast together!  I surprised both them and me by coming out of my shell and dancing almost non-stop every night of the cruise.  They called me a dancing machine.  I loved the reaction and I loved the reputation I was getting!

Back home, I went out with some friends and danced more.  They called me a dancing machine, too! All of my shyness about the dance floor was gone.  I don't know if it's my age or what, but I've reached the point where I really don't give a crap anymore what anyone thinks.  I just love to dance.

I went on another cruise in July, this time to the Mediterranean.  I met up with the solo group again.  The first night, we went to a 70's disco night.  As soon as the music started, I jumped out of my seat and said to my fellow solo cruisers, "OK, who's with me?"  Four women got up and we danced for awhile as a group.  One of them later told me they were surprised I did that because most guys wouldn't.  A bit later, a crew member grabbed me by the arm and pulled me backstage, along with four other guys.  She got costume parts out and dressed us up as the Village People.  They showed us the YMCA moves and got us on stage, dancing the YMCA!

The next night, a bunch of us solo cruisers went to watch the "Celebrity Dance-Off Contest."  Crew members were the "celebrities."  I was talked into being a contestant.  I told my dance partner I had no idea what I should do.  She said don't worry about it, it's a lot of fun.  For the first dance, I just kind of mimicked her, got the hang of it, and then started making up stuff.  Somehow it worked!  There were six couples altogether and we lasted three rounds.  It was a lot of fun, and this emboldened me even more to get on a dance floor and just dance.  I spent the rest of the cruise dancing every single night with solo cruisemates and crew members from the entertainment staff.

Back home, I started looking for more opportunities to dance.  A friend told me about contra dancing, so I tried it out.  More fun!  I told another friend about it and she went a couple times.  She got yet another friend interested in it.

I started going to Taylor's Nightclub, at the invitation of a couple friends.  Everyone tells me it's a "meat market."  Well, who cares?  You get what you want out of that place.  I wanted to dance. They have two dance rooms. Every Friday and Saturday night, they start with 70's disco in one of the rooms.  The crowd is usually pretty sparse until around 11:00, when it starts getting packed and the music switches to all modern dance.  That's around when I usually leave.  But for those first two hours, I've had fun dancing with friends who show up and with people I meet on the dance floor.  Sometimes I dance solo.  As I said, I don't give a crap anymore.  I'm just having fun.  And it's great exercise!

Last month I tried out rockabilly swing for the first time.  It looks complicated but it's actually pretty easy.  I also started up ballroom dancing again.  In both cases, I need to learn the basic rudiments of dancing so I can be a good leader.  I'll be working on that over the next few months.

I'm making a lot of new friends who also love to dance.  I consider this to be my new hobby and I look forward to many years of dancing!

Subsequent entries to my autobiography series will be posted every Saturday morning until further notice.  If you wish to subscribe to notifications of my posts, please enter your e-mail address in the form at the right, under "Follow by e-mail."  If you wish to view previous blog posts of my autobiography, please click on the link under "blog categories" at the top right, "autobiography."