Tag Archives: dance

A Need Tae Practice Ma Scots

13 Dec

Hey, look at that: It’s Lollipop Tuesday!

What’s Lollipop Tuesday, you ask? The same thing it’s been for the last fifty weeks – which is why if you’re a noob, you can check out the link at the top of this page that says “What’s Lollipop Tuesday?” and see all the social-anxiety-inducing adventures I’ve had this year.  There are only two left  after today, y’all.  TWO.  Which is why I had to make this week good.

So I went Scottish Country Dancing.

To be honest, I had no idea what on God’s green earth Scottish Country Dancing  was.  But sometimes when I get desperate for Lollipop Tuesday ideas, I check the listings in my local paper for what kind of wacky groups are taking visitors.  Last time it was the Competitive Scrabble Club, and as many of you know, that didn’t go so great.  This time, it was the Scottish Country Dance Society.  So I hauled my jiggly butt off the couch and off to an Episcopalian church full of some eager dancing beavers.

I had a lot of reservations about this experience before going into it.  As Dave, Marvin, and I climbed the mountain to the location, Dave and I both talked about how much we didn’t want to go.  Me, because I was by no means equipped for dancing of any sort. Dave,  because he has a long, sordid history of dating Irish competitive dancers – and while Scottish and Irish are not the same, he has a visceral nausea at the thought of returning anywhere near to that land.  

I couldn't blame Dave. Frightening, no?

When we got to the church, we were warmly greeted by everyone and then they got right to business.  After a short warmup, the leader announced that we would not dance with partners our same level – which meant that Dave and I couldn’t just fumble around like morons together: I actually had to try.  That’s when the head hauncho looked my way and took me as his lass.


I think he smelled my fear because after a brief demonstration, I was passed off to a soft, older gentleman (let’s call him Morrie) who seemed somewhat amused by my absolute lack of skill and was happy to herd me to where I needed to be, point directly at me when I was supposed to be flailing in his general direction, and was incredibly understanding of the fact that though I was in a relatively small space with only 8 people to navigate, I was completely incapable of staying on course.

Quickly, my embarrassment dissipated and instead focused on the realization that everyone around me was at least 20 years (and some 40) my elder and all were outperforming me aerobically.  After two dances I was reminding myself to control my breathing and Morrie looked like he could have Scottish hopped his way through a 2 mile relay race.  

It’s moments like these that I regret the existence of both Ben and Jerry.

Kilts were not required but I wouldn't have been opposed to the idea.

But I powered through.  I told myself it was because I ran right before I came (true, but sad nonetheless) and tried to focus more on being embarrassed from not being able to hold 32 counts in my head at the same time.  With all that skipping and jumping and partner changing, I tend to get distracted from the matter at hand.

In spite of how incredibly out of shape I am and the reminder that I cannot dance well with even the most straightforward and considerate instruction, I actually had a nice time.  Because despite being the same demographic as the Competetive Scrabble Club, these people were nice.  They were forgiving and accepting and actually meant “beginners welcome”.   It surprises me how many groups I’ve visited that have such a sense of exclusivity when they clearly state that they welcome visitors.  Most of them are dirty, rotten liars.  And even if they’re open to the idea of noobs, once they find out that you’re just there to have an experience and write a blog, sometimes they get a little funny on you.  But not these folks.  In fact, Dave and I so appreciated how they smiled warmly when I was going the wrong direction and making it look more like an inebriated dance than a social one that on the way home we said we were happily surprised and might even return someday.

Before that time, it’d be great if I could get hooked up with right foot and a greater lung capacity. 

Psst: If you happen to be near my corner of the world, check out the Pittsburgh Scottish Country Dance Society here and consider dropping in on one of their classes.  If I can do it, you certainly can.  Plus, Morrie is adorable.
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