As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
The Love Dogs were hot this past Saturday night at the monthly Boston Swing Dance Networks dance. I feel sorry for anyone who missed it. I hope you know that they play "differently" at this venue than they do at other venues like Swing City.
I'm not sure if I mentioned this before but there's this great little liquor store on Belmont Street in Cambridge, just before the Belmont line, that offers a great selection of wines from around the world. The owner is someone who loves wine and talking about them.
McHugh's in Cambridge just had a wine-tasting event today where I managed to find a few great bottles of wine. The nice thing about this event is that they had pads of peel-off labels for the bottles (kinda like Post-It's) so you could reference the label the next time you went shopping for wine.
A liquor store is like any other service-oriented business. It's always a good idea to "get in good" with the owner if he really cares about the product he's selling. The owner of this liquor store is extremely knowledgeable and while he doesn't know my name, he does recognize me and knows I hang out in the Italian wine section so he knows what my tastes are and knows what kinds of wine to suggest for me. That's great service and builds customer loyalty.
I've long told non-dancing friends that when you ask someone for a dance, you're going on a 3-minute "date". Now, my definition of a date is getting to enjoy some time with someone and getting to know them better, regardless of future intentions. However, it seems to me some other people might include more investigation or information-gathering than my definition implies. Sometimes the dancers (either one) might be looking for non-verbal clues as to whether they want to get to know the other person better after the song is over.
From a follower's perspective, I can imagine thinking about whether partner is "suggesting" what to do next or if the leader is ordering or commanding the follower. Is the leader giving guidance, or is he making the follower do what he wants her to do? Does the leader retain a light grip to let his partner know where he is or does he have her hand in a "death grip" and asserts his control? Is the leader insistent on making his partner follow a move she doesn't know or don't want to do? Does he teach on the dance floor or does he ignore simple mistakes (or assume it was *his* fault)? Is the leader paying attention to the follower's needs and abilities? Does this leader hurt the follower? Is this person dancing to the beat of his own drummer or is he paying attention to his partner and the rest of the world? Does he know about grooming and does he care? Is he more interested in showing what he knows and can do...or is he interested in making sure his partner is smiling and having a good time...and that you two looked good dancing *together*?
As a leader, sometimes I think how the follower holds my hand. Is this person tense up and lack confidence? Or does her smile say "I meant to do that!" Does this person go limp and wants me to drag her through everything or is she awake and ready for the next lead? Does this person interrupt my lead with what she wants to do or does she wait for the right point in the moment where I'm between leads? Does this follower want the spotlight or is she willing to share? Will this partner move when I make a clear lead or does she require an act of God to move her. Is this person contributing to our mutual enjoyment of the dance? Does dancing with this person cause me pain? Does she steal or force the lead? Or does she trust my judgement to figure out what to do next? Is she very forgiving when I make a mistake? Is she paying attention? Or would she rather be somewhere else?
Both leaders and followers will make an initial judgement of each other when just asking for a dance. That evaluation continues during the dance. Whether you want this person to be a dance partner, an acquaintance, a friend or perhaps something more, during the dance the other person will come to some conclusion as to whether or not you're someone worth knowing on or off the dance floor. Some people might want to think about that the next time they ask someone to dance...because it *is* a date.
I must say that the preceding didn't come out of thin air. I've been watching other people dance for the past 14 years and I've been listening to other people tell me what they like or don't like about the people they dance with. I've been dancing a while and I'll be the first to say that I think I'm an "average" dancer. After all these years, I still only know 5 moves in West Coast Swing. I can't get into a tandem charleston position, much less dance it. There are tons of guys out there who are better dancers than me, and that's just the local scene. I like to believe that I dance with my partners in a manner that is consistent with the way gentlemen should treat a lady. However, I'm just a small fish in a pond that's constantly getting bigger.
Recently I got to dance with a woman with whom I've wanted to dance for many months. I've watched her dance with many other guys, I've watched countless other men "stalk" her waiting for their chance to ask her for a dance. She was clearly a highly desireable dance partner. She danced very well, and better yet, she looked like she was enjoying it. And when I finally got my chance to dance with her, she made it a point to tell me, with a smile, that I had a "nice soft touch". And she asked me to dance again later. I was blown away because I've seen her dance with a lot of other people and didn't think I had impressed her all that much.
That led me to ask a friend, "What are these other guys doing?"
And my friend threatened to show me.
To all dancers and others:
Due to the extensive damage from the stroke, and in consultation with the doctors, and in accordance with JoEllen's wishes the Farricker family has decided to let JoEllen's beautiful spirit pass on.
Please keep the family in your prayers.
All visitors are welcomed at Mass General Hospital, room 1230 (12th floor Ellison wing). Myke & JoEllen's address is The Farricker's, 14 Valley View Road, Wayland, MA 01778. 508-655-3203.
JoEllen Farricker, who ran all the dancing at the Longfellow Dance Club, suffered a stroke two days before Christmas and had been in critical care since then.
Tuesday, December 27: I just heard that JoEllen passed away this morning. I'll let you know if I hear of any services arrangements.
Tuesday, December 27: (later in the day) Here are the details about JoEllen's viewing and funeral:
Viewing: 5-8 pm on Friday (December 30), at Bryant Funeral Home, 56 Pemberton Road (off Rt. 30) Cochituate, MA (508) 653-4220
Funeral: 11 am on Saturday (December 31), UU Church (Unitarian Universalist) at the intersection of Rtes 20 & 27, Wayland, MA
A reception at the Farricker's home to follow (14 Valley View Rd. Wayland, MA 01778)
Myke Farricker has requested, in lieu of flowers, donations in JoEllen's name to MGH Stroke Service, 55 Fruit St. Boston, MA 02114
Please pass this on to everyone who knows JoEllen and feel free to contact me if I (Steele Shane) can be of more help.
Many thanks to Steele Shane for keeping us informed in our loss of a good dance friend.