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Swing and other adventures of a poor dancer

If there is something I am bad at, it is definitely dancing. Unfortunately, my flatmates refuse to accept the simple fact that yes, some people cannot dance, and yes, I am one of them. It’s not that I haven’t previously tried to get a hang of it, it’s more that I have absolutely no sense of rhythm or melody. And yet, living with two people who absolutely love dancing and do it spontaneously and confidently, I am often forced to dance.

There are two trends when it comes to dancing I see in Sydney. There are the young people who love electronic music, and engage in a variety of strange modern dance moves. Most typical for Australia probably being the shuffle. And like with all the other dance moves, I cannot get a hang of it no matter how many times my flatmates instruct me and practice with me. And since it’s atrocious when I attempt to shuffle, here is a youtube video of people who seem to have a better idea of what they are doing:

And there is the other, very different trend. One of my flatmates decided that practice makes perfect and we will undertake a dance course. And when I have attempted to find a dance course in Sydney one thing became very apparent: there is no ballroom courses, no tango or salsa courses, because what everyone is learning is swing. There seems to be a growing community of people who like swing music, play it and dance to it. It’s interesting, because swing originated in the 1930s in America and became very popular for a while over there. And now it is becoming increasingly popular in Australia, with people organizing swing lessons, festivals of swing music and playing swing in pubs and clubs on certain nights. Perhaps it’s just a strange piece of evidence for Americanization of Australian culture.

Therefore learning how to swing dance seemed like an appropriate thing to do. With swing being quite popular it was very easy to find a class relatively close to where we live. And so I started to go up to a church hall two blocks away where on Thursday nights a funny couple of Australians are teaching a bunch of middle-aged people how to swing dance. The course turned out to be very casual (like most things in Australia). I got a chance to learn some basic steps without any sense of competition or pressure. Obviously it took me a somewhat longer than everyone else, but no one seemed to mind. Every class I got to know and dance with a variety of locals, younger and older, some coming straight from work, some dressed up really nicely, some straight, some not exactly.

Maybe I am not a very good dancer, but going out to learn a somewhat goofy dance with a bunch of locals still turns out to be great fun. So I think I will keep learning. Meanwhile here is another video:

Monika, Sydney

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