Thursday, January 12, 2012

You remind me of a man…

In this ridiculously long post I mentioned that my background in swing dancing and my love of swing music inspired me to choose the name Bing Clawsby for my newest kitten.  So today I figured I would talk a little about dancing!  As a freshman at the University of Georgia, my roommate and I stumbled upon a flyer on a student billboard advertising free swing dance lessons on campus.  During high school I had been in a couple of musicals and always loved learning the choreography, so I figured “hey, why not try it”?  The next week my roommate and I attended a lesson on the Lindy Hop, and from that point on, I was hooked.  Not only did I enjoy the physical exercise you get while dancing, I also enjoyed the social aspect as well.  Because I didn’t want to feel pressured into the typical scene of drinking and partying during college, this entrance into the swing dance scene in Athens was a welcome option for socializing and meeting people.  The people who typically swing dance are respectable and outgoing people who understand that even though swing is considered outdated in today’s bump and grind dance scene, it is a very fun, creative, and appropriate form of dancing.  Of course, there are always a few creeps who don’t understand that most swing dancing is not supposed to be all-up-on-you physical, but for the most part the guys are chivalrous and respectful, and the girls have class and grace.   
When I think of all of the adjectives in that last sentence, I think of a certain group of swing dancers I met during my tenure at UGA.  After about a year of attending lessons, Tuesday night swing nights, and Friday night ballroom dance nights, I was approached by Swung, a group of Athens students, staff, and residents who choreograph and perform pieces all around the south.  I felt so honored when asked to be a part of this group, considering that most members had been dancing for years and were way better than I could ever hope to be.  Within 6 months, I was performing pieces with them. 

This is us!  You can see me on the far left in the black dress. (you can click on the image to make it larger)

 This is the first piece I was in, for Ballroom Magic at UGA.   I am on the far left of the frame, in the same black dress.

This is the last piece I did with Swung, also a UGA Ballroom Magic performance.  Again, I am on the far left of the frame (seriously, why am I always on the left?!?), closest to the front (but not the girl in the middle), in the green shirt.  

For the next three years I not only danced with these people, but became friends with them as well. They are the kindest, most accepting, encouraging, creative, amusing group of friends I could have found.  Their acceptance was appreciated more than I could ever explain.  They helped me transition into college and helped me feel like I belonged somewhere.    

This is how I feel about these people: (justification: this was like hour 3 of waiting backstage for the show to start)

The last year and a half of college I was a little more tied up in my boyfriend/fiancé and didn’t spend as much time dancing as I had in the previous years.  While I certainly do not regret spending that time with him (I mean come on, that turned out pretty great.  I am married to him after all (:  ), I certainly did miss those friends.  Not only did I miss the dancing, but my body missed it as well.  The physical exercise I was getting definitely helped prevent delay the freshman 15, and was a heck of a lot funner than running. 
Now that I have moved even farther away from my swing friends, I find myself missing them and dancing even more.  Any time I hear the beginning of “Hound Dog,” “Foot Stompin’”  or any of the other songs we danced to, I still have a moment of panic.  Where is my partner?!  Is the third move a basic Lindy or a Texas Tommy?!  I hope that reaction is something that never goes away, as it brings back great memories.  My only hope now is that I can convince my husband to dance with me a little more in the living room…he is, after all, the only partner I ever want.  :)

P.s. Ten points to whoever can tell me what the title of this post means.


Catrina Bradley... said...

Hey Julie! I'm glad you posted a link to your blog on Facebook. Loved reading about your dancing experience. I heard all about it at the time through your mom, and she related it very accurately. Thanks for posting the videos - now I want to go dancing!! Think I could convince Brad to take lessons? :-)
Love you,
Cathy B.

Amanda Cook said...

What man?

Julie Anna Helms said...

Oh, the man with the power! haha 10 points to Amanda :)

Allie L. said...

You are so beautiful my sister. You make that husband of yours go dancing. If he can run all over the tennis court then he can dance with you!!!!! LOVE YOU!