February 2009

Last weekend I spent three days dancing all day and night in Seattle. I had so much fun. I didn’t want to leave. Balboa is my favorite kind of dance right now. It’s from southern California in the 1920s. Here’s a clip of one of the contests, so you can see what it looks like. The 3rd, 4th, and 6th couples are friends of mine.

Dancers come from all over for these events. This photo is of me with my host, Paul, who lives in Seattle, and Sanna, from Finland.

Paul, Sanna, Nathen, Seattle Balboa Fest 2009

Paul, Sanna, Nathen, Seattle Balboa Fest 2009

I got my favorite complement of the year tonight. I was at my weekly swing dance in Eugene, dancing with one of the newer follows and she said, “You are my favorite to watch. I like how you look like you could be dancing in the street, you’re just so relaxed and such a natural!”

I love to think that I look like a natural when I’m dancing, partly because I was so not a natural. I could refer you to any number of people to confirm that, especially a couple of high school girlfriends who were dancers. I was hanging out with one of them last winter and she saw me dance and could not get over it. She tripped out for about an hour and even got a little angry, like it wasn’t fair that now I could dance. It wasn’t that I didn’t dance, I was just very self conscious and stiff. I wasn’t very fun, and it wasn’t that fun for me either.

When I came back to dancing a several years ago, it still wasn’t very fun. I was still self conscious and stiff. I had to get pretty good before I could have fun. Now I always have fun, unless I’m dancing with someone who really intimidates me or who’s obviously having a bad time. I feel like a natural now, but I had to put in way too much work to qualify. (In fact, the only things I can think of that I have always been able to do are being interested and staying focused. Everything else has been work.) Or maybe I was a natural all along and just had  to work hard to uncover that ability. That’s how it feels.