Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dancing in Ohio

For the past week I have been in Ohio visiting relatives. While in the Heartland, I've also have had a few dancing opportunities.

Early last week, I was in Columbus. First let me say, the weather SUCKED-- rain + snow + grey skies. Aaaahhhhhh, the memories of driving Interstate 71 under terrible conditions danced in my head as I carefully maneuvered my rental car through the snow flurries. Monday and Tuesday, the weather threatened to slide into freezing rain, but luckily, I was spared. Freezing rain is one of the main reasons I moved to Tucson in 1981.

Anyway, I digress. Monday night I went to the weekly dance of the Columbus West Coast Swing Club. It was a blast. My friend Maru (former roommate from the Phoenix 4th of July convention) and I made plans to see each other while I was in Columbus. She is such a sweetie. She called ahead and told the swing club organizers that I would be there. Everyone was very friendly and I had several great dances that night. The Columbus swing club dances in the Bowties lounge at the Ramada Inn on Sinclair Road. The dance floor was about 1/4 the size of the Women's Center where the Tucson Swing Dance Club holds its weekly dance, but there were plenty of dance partners. (That's the important part of any dance!)

The only dance that really sucked was with a very good dancer. Ironic, huh? I had seen him dance with others, so I asked him to dance the cha-cha. I love the cha-cha and believe that it is one of my best dances. He started to dance (and didn't do the started step-- which surprised me-- since he seemed to be sort of "ballroom"). Anyway, the problem arose at the very beginning because he was TOTALLY off the beat. Ok, I took music lessons from 3rd grade through my freshman year in college. Plus, I have always had natural rhythm. According to my Dad said, the Irish have natural rhythm.) Whatever. All I know is that is nearly impossible for me to dance off the beat. I naturally kept trying to get on the beat. (Sometimes guys will start off wrong and adjust.) This dork just said, "LET ME LEAD" and shook my arms. We struggled through the dance. I think he was impressed with my moves when we were apart, but when he was holding me it was... well... messy.

Today, I left my home town of Amherst, Ohio, for Twinsburg, Ohio, south of Cleveland. I registered for one day of the C.A.S.H. Bash (Cleveland Akron Swing Hustle) convention. You can tell how exciting this convention by the fact that I am in my room blogging!!!! It took me forever to pack this morning, so I got here aroun 10ish-- just in time for the tail end of breakfast. I took one workshop with John Lindo, who is a great dancer. (He actually won the champion contest at the 4th of July convention. For a very large man, he's an absolutely great dancer.) So, the workshop and the dancing beforehand were good. The afternoon dancing was slow, so I came back up to the hotel room. The dancing goes until 4a.m., so maybe people are napping. There are some really good leads here, so I'm looking forward to great dancing later. BTW, the off-beat cha-cha dancer is in Cleveland. (I saw him watching me shaking my booty earlier today.)

So, far my 2 complaints about this convention are:
1) The music is boring. (No blues. No country. And, although it's not my fav, no electronica. The music in Cleveland--- and also the music in Columbus-- is primarily slow disco. Yuck. The dancers are also very "ballroom". West coast swing is much wilder and free-form in the west. Hey there, dance partners, I miss you!)
2) They don't have enough place setting for all attendees to have dinner! How lame is that? Only the people who signed up for the whole weekend get dinner. So, I guess I'll do room service. I was looking forward to mingling during dinner, so I could strike up acquaintances with more dance partners.

Overall, I was underwhelmed with the C.A.S.H. The dinner dance was very "ballroom" and mostly couples. The music stunk-- mostly sort of old-fashioned disco swing (in there is such a thing). No country music and very little blues, which is perfect for swing dancing. I longed for the dance scene in Tucson!

NOTE: A general rule of the web is to search carefully. I searched for "Columbus swing club", so I could link the dancing venue to this blog. Note that I forgot to put the word "dancing" into this search string. This is what I came up with. They didnt' have THOSE types of clubs in Columbus when I lived there!

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