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My first social dance-sink or swim

My first social dance was at 11 or 12 years old.  My granddad loved to dance and he was going to make sure I got a start.  So he took me to the local rodeo where the live country band played inside a chicken wire fence on a basketball court.

Granddad bought me a moviestub ticket and had them staple it to the collar of my shirt.  I was pretty terrified by this time.  But then he stood outside the fence and said, “Go on in there.”

“Do what?”  “You are not coming?”  “No, Go in there and dance.”

Dance?  I had never danced in my life.  This was something akin to the frontier way of teaching boys to swim by pitching them in the river and saying, “Come to Daddy.”  “Yikes!” is only the tip of the feelings that boil at that moment.

So I went.  I wandered shy and out of place through lots of young people enjoying the music and the dancing.  Many were real cowboys from the many ranches around our small town called Spur, Texas.

Granddad called me over to the fence for coaching.  “Ask that one to dance?”  “I don’t know how to dance.  What do I do then?”

I don’t know what happened then.  It seems like I obeyed and asked her and said something like, “I’ve never done this before.”  If that happened, there was an awkward moment when I kind of just stood there holding her in dance position wondering what to do next.

Maybe it was then that Granddad called her over to the fence or maybe Granddad coaxed the girl to go up to me, I don’t remember.  Anyway, he asked her to teach me the basic two step.

She did and away I went doing this side together step step clunky beginner two step.  I loved the music and moving to it, but the overwhelming feeling of this nice girl doing this for me, an out of place pre-teen who had no idea what I was doing, argh!

Whew!  That was over.  I stood around for a while, probably asked my Granddad if I could stop now.  “No, no, ask her to dance again.”  “Yeah right, this hurts.”  So I did and she was nice and danced with me again.

I did not know what to do.  So I stood around and asked her a couple of more times until she said, “Ask someone else to dance.”  That was it.  I had to get out of there.

Granddad’s ticket did not go to waste, but however short a time that was in the dance pen was way beyond what I could handle.

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Wish4-The International School of Intimate Living and Dance

My wish.  An International School for exploring the many intimate ways of living in cultures around the world.

The assumption is that people in each culture have discovered something unique about the transformational process of learning, relearning, and discarding old learning patterns.

The goal is to plum the depths of how different people have adapted their cultures to experience an intimacy with the learning and expressing of languages, dance, music, mathematics, architecture, business, and the plastic arts.

Incubating a methodology for such a school will be a process in itself.  The seminal questions for each learner and each facilitator are: What is the wisdom that I uniquely hold?  What wisdom do you have to teach me?  What help do I need to open myself to my own and your wisdom?  What help do I need to experience the excellence of each form of transformation and learning?

My wish is for activities and learning to be accessible to an entire community on a daily basis.  The school would function more like a business that people walk in to with their goals and concerns and they interact with a body of learners who are moment by moment discovering what it means to learn intimately about living and to manifest a productive, liveable world.

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Wish3-Dance Brain Gym

My wish-A Dance Brain Gym for everyone.   24 hours a day.  Drop in or set an appointment with a professional.  Exercises, equipment,  experimentation and exploration opportunities.  All ages, all sizes, all physical abilities including handicapped.

Here are some of the needs that would be met:

Newborns need a variety of stimulus to build their brains.   Dance and music provide the variety of movements,  rhythms, and emotions that they need.

Children and Teens need the challenged to connect emotions with learning and with physical exertion.

Adults need the release and fun of dance and music to reduce stress and open their minds beyond themselves.

Seniors need to renew and build their brains.  Dance and music are obvious ways to do this safely while encouraging exuberance and delight.

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Why spandex for dance?

Tight clothing is a traditional style for acrobats and gymnasts as well as dancers.  Logically the skin tight garments make movements easier without sticking or catching while performing difficult routines.

For dancers there are two other reasons.  One, tight clothing helps the instructor see how every muscle is working in order to correct the dancer’s moves and to help them complete the look of a long line or a shape.

Second, the tightness of the dancegear gives feedback to the dancer, indicating a pull here and a twist there,  signaling that they are using the correct  muscles.

As far as muscle health goes, a little compression is good and gives a head start on healing muscles that are challenged to the max.  Current fabrics also include spandex to wick the moisture away from the body cooling the outside and keeping the muscle warmth during periods of activity and rest.

Even, when the instructor does not ask to see the contours of the body, most dancers wear a tight layer underneath their loose clothing or under warmers that keep their bodies at a consistent temperature.