As some of you know I have taken up Swing Dancing by way of Lindy Hop lessons run by an outfit called Jitterbugs. I'd always been interested in the dance style - in an academic way - but when I went to Perth nearer the start of the year I was able to see some first-hand and realised this was more than half a fancy.
Upon my return I mentioned this off-hand to my best friend Rachie (still need a code-name for her!). She replied enthusiastically that her flatmate Johnno did swing dance and did I want her to to find out where he went for lessons? So it was that I joined Johnno at Jitterbugs. Well, I sort of joined him. First I didn't tell him I was going - I just turned up to the Lindy 1 class, and as he turned up at the end of my lesson for his Lindy 4 class he was surprised to see me there!! Now he comes a little earlier to join in and have a wee social dance with me between classes. Isn't he lovely!?
I have managed now six lessons - the first time I dragged The Agent with me and had to dance lead. The second time I took The Ginge and learned the part of a follow. Third time I invited a salsa-dancing South African and was follow again. For lesson number four I turned up on my own and opted to take the lead again making it 50/50. Mean skillz huh?! It wasn't the easiest to get away from work in order to make these lessons. I have to take roughly two to 2.5 hours off work every second Wednesday, and this means I need to have already worked those hours somewhere else. (We are given Time Off In Lieu - TOIL, for every hour of overtime we work. If we haven't clocked up extra hours, we don't get to take them off). So far it's worked out okay and I still have 4 hours I can take for the next two night shifts, but it might be getting a little tricky after that.
Anyway, here I was having learnt the lead twice and learnt the follow twice and I decided I'd quite like to keep the pattern. By learning to lead I was becoming a better follow, and I certainly hope the reverse is also true. The people at the class are all smiley, happy people, and I really enjoy the atmosphere as well as the dancing - it's all a lot of fun. So after learning the follower's part for my fifth lesson I decided I was keen to join them all at the Point Chevalier Returned Services Association (Or Pt Chev RSA) for a two-monthly event they call The Cotton Club.
Although it was $20 at the door to get in, I invited Rachel to come with me and she was keen so on the night I picked her and Johnno up from their flat and off we went. The theme was Black & White and while I'm not one for wearing dresses I was keen to put some effort in so I wore black shirt and pants with white braces and a white tie. I also have a mock-fedora style hat I picked up from an emporium for about $5 so I wore that too. I flatter myself that I did look quite dashing (just call me Jo March). Johnno had a very nice-looking waist-coat and tie and Rachel was lovely in a dress which definitely looked the part.
Everyone's dancing skill was well above my own. Even Rachie, who's only lesson was the half-hour quick intro on the night, picked it up like a duck to water. I practiced my social dancing as lead by taking Rachie out for some unimaginative spins on the floor and tried not to trip on my toes when Johnno, Matt or another would ask me up and I had to do everything off the other foot.
But the music was simply divine - a live jazz band - and the dancers were a glory to watch. It really solidified in my mind that this is definitely something I want to do. I am enjoying the little bit that I do know, and I am looking forward to being able to dance like this:
Yep, that's the Cotton Club at the Pt Chev RSA. I took that video myself, can you tell? I am, if nothing else, a professional ;-) Watch this space though - in four years time it should be me dancing like that!!