Some have been taught formal dancing. There were classes for proper young men and women to follow the acceptable dance moves to perform for the cotillions and the coming out parties at the country club. Proper hand position, footsteps, bowing and curtsying were all meticulously followed so on the special occasion the script could be followed under the blissful eyes of parents.
Music makes dancing possible. Otherwise you are just going through spastic gyrations. The music was calm and quiet but it still brought bodies together.
Of course there was that wild jazz and swing producing those crazy flappers with plenty of fuel, but now we are talking about my parents. I don’t want to think my parents were wild.
The other excuse for acting strange on an open floor was rock and roll. Electronics intensified the hormonal behavior and gave it a beat. And the beat was and is engrained in our being. It keeps the heart in pattern.
My point in all this shuffling shoes around is, there are some that don’t feel the music. They don’t feel the beat. They can’t get their bodies to move to the rhythm.
All the lessons in the world will only supply girls with soar feet and boys with embarrassed red faces. Others can follow the movements while looking awkward while some feel the beat.
Dancing is one of the few activities that bring the genders together.
And my meaning of together is to hold each other in a hug position and slide against each other’s bodies. Woooo! Is that too much information? Guess what folks, that is what slow dances were made for and EVERYONE danced the slow dance. Even the two left footed kids danced the slow dance.
I personally had some classes on the correct dance moves beyond the box step but it wasn’t until camp that I got the real lessons. Some woman in tights came into the feeding hall on a rainy day to a bunch of boys, cranked up the music, and taught us to shake our booties.
She brought us African percussion, Jamaican rhythms, and Latino beats that got our little feet stomping. Just imagine a bunch of almost teen boys on a rainy day in an empty hall at the beach in the summer heat learning the moves to the Cha-Cha, The Stroll, The Monster Mash, The Hully Gully, The Dog, The Frug, The Madison, The Watusi, The Pony, Hitch Hike and even the Twist. Luckily we didn’t have to touch each other.
The best part came when a neighboring girls camp came over. The music was played and the counselors all beckoned us to dance, but distant walls held our backs. No one was going to cross the floor and ask a girl to dance. One by one we were all prodded to show off our basic moves and one by one we got into the ‘groove’ and started dancing together.
Much of our social life was surrounding gatherings and dances were the reason. A dance was acceptable by parents as long as there were chaperones. Dances were the place where you got the first kiss. Dances were where you got the first drink. Dances may have been where you learn a bit more about biology.
Personally I enjoyed the making of the music more than the dancing, so I was up on stage while my peers were wildly gyrating. No one cared as long as there was a beat.
And then there was the ‘slow dance’.