Thursday, April 9, 2015

Swing Dancing with the Collegiates!

Last week my son came home from college for Easter break. His first night home he offered to teach my daughter and I how to swing dance! Where he attends at Patrick Henry College there are often dances and swing dance is a big hit with all of his classmates!  There seems to be a dance once  a month, then each semester seems to wrap up with a formal ball.  As a result my son has learned a lot of swing dance and even some waltzing! He had planned to teach us last Christmas but I was hopelessly under the weather with bronchitis the entire time. Then he had planned to teach us during spring break, but  my daughter was busy with her college classes. Her spring break didn't start until he returned to PHC. This time we were going to make time to learn how to swing dance!
I was excited because as much as I love the idea of dancing, I have no idea how to dance. I love to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the movies, even Gene Kelly is another favorite! Now was my chance to learn! It was a lot of fun, however the greatest hurdle I faced was that I only have one balance nerve. Everyone else has two. When I graduated from college I had major head surgery and long story short, I have one balance nerve now. I had to learn how to walk all over again. Balancing is a huge challenge for me, but it's only a challenge. It is not impossible.  Learning new dance moves allows my brain to learn, or perhaps relearn what it used to do.
My daughter's greatest challenge stems from when she was diagnosed with praxis and sensory integration disorder as a toddler.  In other words, she needs help motor planning. Her brother was quite patient with her, slowly showing her the steps. That was still confusing so I got the idea to use masking tape and a sharpie to mark the spots and number them. My son took that suggestion, marked everything out, which allowed her to quickly figure out the step sequences. Now we could work on the arms. 

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Oh my, we were laughing so hard! My husband had come down to watch, but he was not interested in learning. Have you ever seen Easter Parade where Judy Garland tries to learn how to ballroom dance from Fred Astaire but her arms get all tangled up in his neck? That's exactly what my daughter was doing to my son! I was teasing her that she was Hannah Brown (the Judy Garland character). Nor could Hannah Brown tell her right foot from her left, so Don Hewes (the Fred Astaire character) had her wear a rubber band on her left leg to learn the dance sequences. For my daughter, the masking tape worked as well as the rubber band did for Hannah!     

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I certainly  made plenty of my own mistakes too, which gave us more to laugh about. Just got to laugh and learn and enjoy!

I'll have to sew some proper dresses for this era of dancing for my daughter and I to wear so we can do more of a history presentation of swing dancing some time. Meanwhile there are videos of us learning to dance on my facebook page, Teacups Among the Fabric.

My son also taught us how to waltz! He and I danced to The Blue Danube Waltz while we twirled around the floor! Waltzing has always been  my favorite dance to see, now it's my favorite dance to do though I still need lots more practce!

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