Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Humble Pie

I'm rethinking about how I think about square dancing. I was at gay nude summer camp, and it always features (what I ironically think of as) square dancing. I attend the "square dancing", because I'm almost always needed to fill out the square, or to help the caller. In past years, I've hated this activity because it doesn't challenge me, and these guys have been dancing the same fifteen calls for the last fifteen years. They dance badly, they don't know right from left, and they have no sense of rhythm. I had a bad martyr complex.

I wanted these guys to have a different experience. I wanted them to learn some more calls, to dance to the beat, to get more proficient. In short, I wanted them to learn how to square dance and all they wanted to do is get out on the floor and dance.

I realized this about the second night of dancing, and I changed my bad attitude, and ended up having an enjoyable time dancing with the other guys. Was it challenging me? No. Was it building my skills? No. Instead, I was dancing to be sociable. I was enjoying the experience for what it was: dancing with friends.

Last night I was over at Kent's talking about our square dance convention that's coming to town next year. Our conversation drifted off, and Kent asked me if I had heard of ABC Square Dancing. ABC square dancing offers a very restricted list of calls that can be easily learned in a very short period of time while dancers are dancing. It's very similar to the dancing I was doing at camp: it gets people on to the floor to dance, and they begin dancing immediately.

There is a special joy in dancing, body movement, music, and rhythm, and you don't have to learn the whole Mainstream, Plus, or Advanced program to appreciate it, and derive a lot of happiness from the experience of dance and from the people you dance with. Maybe I've come so far in my dancing that I've forgotten the simple joy that it is. In any case, you don't have to know how to square dance to square dance. You just need a caller and a group of people who know just enough to really have a lot of fun.