The Soapbox Archives:
"I am looking for dancing for those of us that are over 50 and have never danced before and would love to learn."This came through email and unlike this Soapbox, I didn't have the same amount of time to give to it so I just took a shot at it:
This is such a vague and open-ended question:I don't think I was that bad, but her response was:
- First of all, what's so special about being over 50? I'm about it hit that this month and wanted to know what to expect.
- There was a guy named Frankie Manning. He was dancing until just before his 94th birthday and there were people from ages 20 to 70 who would line up for a chance to dance with this guy. Age is not important.
- What kind of dancing are you talking about? Partner dancing? Line dancing? (I can't read minds) My favorite line for dancing is "yes, you have to hold hands". (so guess what kind of dancing I like).
- You have to figure out what kind of music you like and that tells you what kind of dancing you should look at.
Personally? I like swing dancing because I can dance that to a lot of kinds of music. There are tons of venues that offer swing dancing with lessons beforehand for beginners. I recommend checking those out. If nothing else, if you attend those dances and take the beginner lesson, you'll know who else there knows exactly what you know.
- You should also take lessons. Don't expect to learn "enough" by attending dances. It's pretty painful to dance with someone who thinks "Just lead me; I can follow anything".
If you're going to ask questions like that, you're going to have to provide more information. For instance, what *state* do you live in? I'm in Massachusetts, Boston specifically, so I won't know who to recommend if you happen to live in North Dakota.
"I live in Boston. You sounded really annoyed in your responsive to my email. Why do you give out an email and then get angry at the person who sends you an email. All I wanted was a place where its not totally filled with teens and or twenty somethings; and dance is dance, a movement of ones body. I am a youthful woman but please dont patronize me into believing that there isnt an issue with age in the world. It's all over the place and none of the dance studios make any effort to address the issue. It's quite different to decide to take a risk and learn a new kind of ballroom dancing and i really find your response so very unsupportive rather than of any use."Sigh....
Another self-indulgent self-centered person who thinks my sole purpose in life is to wait for lazy people to ask questions because they're too lazy to get that information themselves. Here was my response:
I spend 10-20 hours of unpaid time entering information into my website so people like you don't have do the searching for yourself. It actually bothers me that people *still* make personal requests for information. However, I'm willing to make the effort.
I get people from all over the country asking me for information because they don't bother to look at the website. If you're going to ask for a personal answer to your question, you're going to have to give me specific information. From your original email I couldn't tell if you're in Boston or in New Hampshire. That's quite the range. Secondly, I have no idea what kind of music and dancing you're looking for and I'm not going to guess. You have to give me some hints first.
Age is *NOT* as important as ability. I'm about to turn 50 and I dance with women plus or minus 15 years my age (emphasis on "plus").
And there's the music and the type of dancing. I like swing dancing and lindy hop. It tends to be energetic. Some people "as they get older" switch to West Coast Swing because it's a little slower and easier on the knees. If you want to emphasize your age, a lot of people "your age" are into ballroom because they grew up with that music and the different types of dances within the ballroom group. There's a lot of people doing Argentine Tango in Boston and the age group doing that is 20-80 (see the article).
If you look through my website, you'll see that there's A LOT of information there. I'm not a mind-reader. If you want me to spend any time typing up a personal response to your information request and you're not willing to do the research yourself, you're going to have to give me some clues. I'm not going to just recommend what I like because I don't know if that's for you.
PS: There's a guy who used to be on the Boston dance scene. I believe he was 74. I saw him dancing two weeks before he died. He was a "dirty old man" and a curmudgeon but he managed to get women of ALL ages to dance with him because he was a wonderful dancer. No, I can't believe it either. However, he's proven that age really isn't important. You're hanging out in the wrong venues if you are getting a bad reaction to your age.
I didn't hear back from this person but I hope she's reading this. I think the most beginner-friend swing dance in Boston is the monthly Boston Swing Dance Network. Hey, it's this weekend and two local bands, Eight To The Bar and The Love Dogs are playing at it. But the important part is that there's always a large group of beginners who take the lesson at 8:00 pm. Attending this lesson is important for beginners because they get to meet all the other beginners and they'll know that these people taking the lesson will know exactly what they know. That makes it easier to figure out whom to ask for a dance if they're intimidated by the more advanced dancers.
That's where I'll be on Saturday.
"You don't stop dancing because you get old; you get old because you stop dancing."
"Couples should take up dancing because it's something they can do together for the rest of their lives."
I'm not sure who said the first line but I've been using the second line as my sales pitch when trying to get married guys to take up dancing.
Denyce and I were at the Sherborn Inn in Sherborn Inn for some dinner and dancing. Normally on a Tuesday night, they have a small band playing jazz music. Whenever I think of "jazz music", I think Dixieland Jazz which I think is terrible for swing dancing. However, this one featured the Dave Whitney Orchestra. I called him up prior to that night and he reassured me that he was going to be playing Big Band music.
It's a shame there aren't more little clubs that offer big band music and dancing. Years ago, we danced at the Veronique ballroom on Thursdays with live music. There were tables where you could sit, drink, and converse, and there was big band music playing so you could also dance. At the Sherborn Inn, a crowd of older local residents showed up for an evening of music and drinks; we were the youngest people there. You could sit around with dessert and drinks while listening to the live music or you could use the excuse to dress up for an evening out. A venue like this is a great place for "date night".
We got a lot of compliments and encouragement for our dancing at the Inn. Some of the audience were reliving their lives vicariously through us; they remembered all the times they had gone out dancing in their younger days. A few of them were encouraged enough get up and share the dance floor with us.
The food there is *excellent*; don't wait for a band night to check out the food there. Birthdays? Anniversaries? Keep this place in mind. It's got everything you need for that special occasion.
I had to move a large bookcase late at night and it was too bulky to move by myself without scratching the wood floor (hey, I'm a dancer and I care about my wood floor!).
I then remembered that my "dance shoes" were sneakers with chrome leather glued to the bottom of them so I put my dance shoes under the bookcase and dragged the whole thing through two rooms. Not a scratch on the floor.
It made my day.
I heard someone was caught trying to sneak into the monthly Boston Swing Dance Network dance. I can see that this was a big event to go to but I don't understand why anyone would risk getting caught for such a trivial amount. It's not like there was a line waiting to get in. While the perpetrator was threatened with a permanent ban from the event, it could have easily turned into an unwanted date with the police. To risk that for such a low gain was idiotic.
I want to find out that person's identity so I can paste their picture in my dictionary beside the word "moron".
I was actually next door at that time, at that fantastic dessert place, Athan's Bakery, being serenaded with a personal performance by the incredible fiddler, Hanneke Cassel. Hanneke was inviting people to make donations to support the One Home, Many Hopes organization that builds schools in Africa. Denyce arranged for Hanneke with Chris Lewis on guitar to show up at Athan's to play a private concert for my friends and me. In spite of the many clues, I was totally suprised when Hanneke showed up at the Athan's with her violin. This was probably the best birthday present I've ever gotten. :-)
Many thanks to Athan's owner Aris who let us have our event at his place. His customers got a pretty good show.
It Made My Day, part 1: "I knew you danced, but I didn't know you could dance!" - Victoria, daughter of an old friend at my birthday party.
It Made My Day, part 2: "I thought you were forty!...no, seriously!" - Lexi, Victoria's cousin at my birthday party.