Friday, August 12, 2011

Dances With Frogs

By the time S and I set foot on the boardwalk, the dancing was in full swing. Yes, that's right. No rain. No lightning. No reason to cancel. Dancing was on. We'd missed the first set of instructions but jumped into the mix to learn whatever the instructor was teaching. She taught a pretty basic beginner's dance. We learned two dances in a row: This Life and Dear Joanna. I might be making these names up.

The floor was packed. Though we saw several regulars, many were missing. We saw Jean over by the spot she normally dances in. We were standing behind a nice Asian couple who dance very well; the man usually counts and points for people who are having trouble with the dance, and he does it in such a way that doesn't annoy anyone around him and doesn't alienate the person having trouble. He did so all dance long for the woman next to me. I have not helped other people since I attempted to help someone do a waltz. That didn't go so well.

The woman next to S was on the older side and perhaps on the larger side--she wasn't large but she was larger. Neither age nor size held her back from getting down. One step was to step to the side with attitude, so you could dip your shoulder down and give a little shimmy shake. This woman dipped down to almost the floor and shimmied as if she were being shocked. Whooooo! She liked dancing!

Then there was the woman behind me who was counting and moving stiffly. Her count, however, did not match the music. The instructor kept saying that if you can count to eight, you can count. That's not true. If you count to eight on the beat, you can dance. If you count to eight at random, then not so much.

As we were dancing the second song for the second time, I looked up from my feet to see T and her boyfriend heading into the bleachers. I smiled and waved. We continued to dance until the instructor took the first break. We got water and they came over to chat. We pointed out and explained who everyone was. Not that we really know anyone, but in our minds, we know them in our own way. We showed them Jean. We showed them Jan. We showed them Banana Clip and her husband, both the most professional dancers ever. We talked about dance shoes.

A Michael Buble song came on that we know the dance to except that everyone on the floor was doing it differently. So we four stood by the side and did it one way as the rest of the dancers did it the other way.

The instructor came back on to teach again and when she started we tried to get T's boyfriend to dance with us but he wasn't up to it so they left as we started. The dance looked like a very simple dance but turned out to be slightly confusing because of semi-turns and full turns and full and a quarter turns. The turning. Oh, the turning. But after awhile, it was as easy as any other dance.

And now for how I saved a frog from certain death.

We were learning steps slowly. I looked down and thought, Hmm, is that a rock? I turned and turned and looked down and thought, Is that a rock or a very small frog? I turned and turned. I looked down and realized, Oh no it's a very small frog!

This frog was going to be crushed by a whole lot of dancing feet. So I made my way towards it. It jumped further into the dancing crowd rather than away. I gave chase. The woman in front of me startled the frog more by flailing around and yelling, What IS that??? As if it were a poisonous jumping bean out to get her. I yelled, it's a frog!

A woman in front of her got the frog to turn around. She kept walking towards it and got it to the edge. Then I kept walking and it kept jumping away until I got it under the bleachers. Two women on the bleachers asked if it was a frog. I said, Yes and it was about to get crushed. They were like, hooray you saved the frog. I was happy.

S said she's never seen me care about something like that before in her entire life. I was like, I just couldn't see having a crushed frog on the dance floor. It would totally ruin dancing for me.

After that, we finished learning the song that I think was called Dear Maria or Jesse's Sons. We also relearned Country As Can Be, the song that S and I had learned back in Jean's first class, the song I call Hello Country.

The instructor stopped instructing after that and told people they could request songs. A group of people scurried up onto the stage to look through her playlist. One of the Irish dances came on and I was ecstatic. I couldn't remember the steps but I figured I could pick it up. Then I saw that everyone was dancing it a completely different, more advanced way. Huge letdown. So sad. We joined in with a dance about a train that we'd taught ourselves at the beach last year or two years ago. It's pretty easy to pick up because it's highly repetitive and not a lot of stutter steps. Oh, those stutter steps. That's not an official name for them, but it's what I call them. They are hard to figure out because it's a dance step that doesn't involve moving really and a lot of the advanced dances have them.

We stood to the side and attempted to pick up a few more dances by following a very tall gentleman who knew every dance. To no avail. We didn't pick up anything more. Then at 9:30 sharp, the instructor told us she'd see us next week and that we should bring our friends. We should also bring frog repellant to make sure they don't come on the dance floor any more.

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