When I’m not doing uni work, or my day job, or
procrastinating working on Sigyn, I can sometimes be found wearing fancy shoes and jumping up and down in a room above a pub. In short, I’m a lindy hopper.
Yeah, I do this sort of thing ALL the time. (In my mind).
I’ve been dancing for about two years now. I got into lindy because I loved the music, the fashion, and the fact that you don’t have to stare soulfully into your partner’s eyes or pretend that you’re salivating with lust. The undertones of lindy and other swing dances are less “this is a beautiful expression of romance” and more “this music is fun, let’s bounce around!” Plus, you can’t beat a dance that lets you pretend be a grizzly bear.
I would not, by any stretch of the imagination, say I’m a talented dancer. So far in my lindy career, I’ve elbowed people in the face, been unable to shake my habit of taking REALLY GIANT STEPS, and, during one memorable workshop, fallen on my bum after both of my legs decided to do a kick at the same time. But, what I lack in talent, musicality, and basic co-ordination, I make up for in enthusiasm. I really love lindy, and after two years, some bits of it are finally starting to gel together.
I dance as a follow (lindy is a partner dance, so you have a follow and a lead. Traditionally, the lead is a man and the follow is a woman, but my lindy group is pretty awesome, and we have a mix of people dancing both roles). I picked follow because of the above-mentioned lack of co-ordination; I have a horrible feeling that if I tried to lead, I’d live the backstory of a movie cop and be responsible for the death of my partner. And I don’t really have time for a gritty journey to redemption.
Not that being a follow is easy. In a way, it’s just as difficult as leading, because you have to switch off the part of your brain that anticipates…well, anything. You can’t plan your movements, you have to react to your lead – and for an overplanner like me, that’s a challenge.
Following is a bit like meditation for me, in that it forces me to stop this overplanning, and instead focus on the present – like mindfulness, with a better beat. Unfortunately, it also ends up making me feel a little guilty, because ‘Ally being a good follow’ is sometimes indistinguishable from ‘Ally being a contrary arse’. “Oh, you wanted me to be over there? Sorry, I didn’t feel like you actually wanted me to be over there. Nah, I’m going to stay over here, thanks. And maybe pretend to be a grizzly bear.”
Still, I haven’t elbowed anyone in the face for a really long time. Progress!