I spent the last 3 hours contra-dancing at All Saints, an Anglican church not three doors down. I have not words - or rather, I do have words, but my expression could not craft them properly.
I love contra dance. It's simpler than Scottish country dance because there's no footwork, but it has that same group style. Except, you stay with your partner (generally) throughout and are grouped by pairs, in squares, within lines.
Though I've contra-danced before, I've never been to an open (public) contra-dance. Granted, it's not quite as fun when you don't know all the people (but in a way, it's more freeing). One of the guys in my class invited us girls, but none of the others ended up coming. I couldn't resist. It's been so long since I danced and there is something in me which delights to dance with groups, to be absorbed into the flow and swirl of syncronized human beings catching, twirling, and swinging each other.
I had worked all day (strange how my Saturdays are becoming homework days) looking forward to this evening's reward. I must confess that I did spend twenty minutes engaging in feminine peacockery, picking clothes, doing hair, and (don't anybody laugh) putting on a bit of makeup to cover the acne outbreak and the healing scars. My togs were simple, but, I thought, quite nice; riding boots, green skirt, light pink blouse, jean jacket, two French braids tied about an inch from the head so that the rest fell free. I wasn't sure how "dressed up" people got for these functions, and as things turned out, I was right in the middle of the spectrum.
Zach and I walked over for the brief instruction period before the dance started, which proved immensely helpful in cleaning the rust off my memory. The dances, themselves whirled their way as the biggest blast of the past month. The experienced dancers guided our movements, and after a few minutes with one of them for a partner, clumsiness melted, at least partially, away.
Talk about sweat! I shed my jean jacket after the first dance, but soon was completely drenched anyway.
It was a gathering of diverse nationalities. I was mistaken by two gentlemen for Eastern European, and by one for having French origins. In addition I was paid the honor of a bow and a kiss upon introduction ... on the hand of course! Maybe our young men should be taken to dances to learn manners from their elders, no?
Sadly, I had to turn down a dance with the said gentleman as I had need to take some rest before church tomorrow.
One quickly learns to let herself be guided while paying close attention so as to render the gentleman's task as easy as possible. One also learns to synchronize her "bounces" with her partner when swung (if the gentleman chooses to bounce). The gentleman does best to have a firm grasp so that the lady can have both support as she balances in the spin and resistance to move.
I need sleep so I should wrap up the post. But I'm looking forward to contra-dances often in the next few months.
Oh, one thing more. Zach had gone back to the college while I stayed for one last dance. But to my surprise, when I finally left, he was waiting to walk me home. Apparently, he had been to the college and back. He didn't have to do that and it was kindly thought of. Marvellous night.