As I’ve mentioned before, one of the elements that makes the Arthur Murray program so successful with teaching you to dance is the encouragement to attend the parties. This is what’s closest to a real social dance experience where the guys ask the girls (sometimes vice versa) to dance and they play different music telling you which dance it is. I’ve talked about how these parties really have stressed me out in the beginning but I have learned to appreciate them for how they force you to learn to dance well.
Twice a year, our studio has a set of themed parties. You pay a little bit and they decorate up the dance room, cook some food, and give away prizes. At first, I looked at this concept a bit sideways since we already paid our group classes and we wondered whether or not it would be worth it to “sponsor” further. After experiencing the first one (Mambo themed), we realized it was a great concept, we got our money’s worth, and a neat way for the studio to raise more money (I’m under no misconception about the underlying business model at work here).
The second party was themed “Sock Hop”. So think swing, foxtrot, and Grease Lightning. Now one thing you need to know about me is I absolutely love Grease. When I was a kid, I must have watched it a hundred times and there was a time when I tried to impress a girl by dressing like Danny Zucko. <Yikes!>.
Needless to say, this party turned out to be a whole lot of fun. I dug out a fitted black t-shirt that I hadn’t worn in years (still fits, though), rolled up my jeans, and went to the party. Something interesting happened as soon as I got there. Although my costume idea wasn’t original, I did get an air of confidence about me. Women were approaching me to dance. I was approaching many women to dance. Even though I may not have had all the dance steps, I really didn’t care. I started to actually have fun.
Then the costume contest came. The line up all the people in costume and parade them around. They played “Grease Lightning” and then it was over. Granted, I’m certain I looked a bit foolish, but I started playing out my best Grease scene and dance moves. It was a big hit. The rest of the group were really encouraging me on and for a moment I felt, well, cool. Of course I saw the pictures later and maybe I wasn’t as cool as I was in my mind, but it was a whole lot of fun. And I won! Got a copy of Grease to boot.
I’ll have to put some thought into what real impact this had on my dancing, but I think socially I made a turn.