Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Different World

It is easy to forget that DC is a city packed full of apartment buildings stuffed of people. Tons of people. People of different tastes and cultures. When Angelina came to visit and suggested we check out music at DC 9, I was in awe that there was an entire culture in the city I lived that I had no idea existed. A culture of vintage tees and choppy hair cuts and tatoos. A hipster culture.

So last night, BG and I drank a whole bottle of organic white wine and headed over to the Jospehine Butler Park Center for the Jam Cellar's weekly Swing Dance. Beginner lessons are free and start at 9pm. We were too enthralled with our alcohol, and we arrived after the beginners had been taught. Sabrina and B2 got there at 9 for the lesson. At first BG and I were drunk enough not too care what anyone thought. During one spin where I let him actually lead (I've been yelled at for not letting men lead many times recently) , I fell on my toosh.

The problem is that I really don't know how to swing dance outside of the basics. I don't know the difference between the Lindy Hop, Charleston, and East Coast steps. I didn't even know that the guy puts one hand on the girl's upper back and makes the other into a fist. The girl holds the fist and gently places her other hand on his tricep. I didn't know that there were 8 steps per move. I didn't know anything, basically, and I was willing to dance and fall until I realized I didn't know a thing. Then I got self-conscious and drank more wine.

The Josephine Butler Park Center is beautiful. It is an old mansion on 15th street with a carriage circle in the front and red carpet running down the center staircase. I made fun of all the girls in Keds, until I realized talking to a totally hip swing dancer, who has been dancing now for 7 years and has Tuesdays off from work to come to the Jam Cellar's event each week, that the shoes on their feet were dance shoes specially made with leather bottoms.

The good dancers all wore green shirts and had hair streaked with blues and reds and pinks. They had tatoos and piercings and leggings on. They were perky, smiling and chatty with everyone they spoke to. The good dancers were so nice that you couldn't even hate them for being so much better at swinging than you.

Once I knew that I didn't know what I was doing, I decided to watch more than dance. Watching people swing dance is more entertaining than much else. As we walked out the door, we could hear the music behind us... calling us back soon...


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