Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I love you when you dance...

"...I love you when you dance,
when you freestyle in trance,
So pure, such an expression"
Alanis Morissette, "So Pure"

Watching DWTS this season has made me really, really miss dancing. I know I've mentioned on here once or twice that Mark and I were in a swing dancing group in college - but I decided to actually do a post on my dancing days, and how much I absolutely love to dance.

If you've never done it before, you don't know what you're missing out on. There's not much in this world that I find more thrilling and exhilirating than letting my hair down and just swinging and kicking and spinning to some really really awesome Big Band music. My favorite thing to swing dance to is the real thing - Count Basie, Benny Goodman, stuff from the late 30's to early 40's. That's really one of my only qualms with DWTS ... the music leaves a lot to be desired. I know they're trying to reach a mainstream audience and all that, but still...

Anyway, off my soapbox. I started dancing my freshman year of college ... the first Swing Kids I attended was the second anniversary of 9/11, which was I think the third week of school. (Not that I'm remembering all this that specifically ... I had a little help from my journal back then....) It rocked my world. I DO remember that feeling - the feeling of never, ever, ever wanting to leave. Swing Kids became my ultimate college experience pretty quickly - when I went to college, I wanted to do New, Wonderful things, things I'd Never Done Before, things that were Out of My Comfort Zone. And, being the gawky, nerdy, awkward, shy person I was - dancing with a bunch of perfect strangers seemed like the perfect fit for me :) Before long, I was absolutely hooked. And not long after that I realized something - I was pretty darn good at this dancing thing.

I credit my Swing Kids days with a lot of things. It allowed me to see that I am, in fact, good at things other than being smart. It allowed me to meet some really awesome people. It allowed me to learn a little bit about boys (let's be honest - it's REALLY easy to develop a crush on somebody when they're a really good dancer, and they like to dance with you...). I fell in really deep like with a guy named David (like, the second I saw him. It was kind of pathetic, really.) And I think part of my heart was starting to fall in love with Mark when I was teaching him how to dance. It was an amazing part of my life. Very emotional. I have some really, really strong memories tied to the songs that we danced to - mostly good, but some not-so-great. And I wouldn't change any of it.

Without further ado ... pictures! (My sincere apologies about the awful quality and the cropped nature of them - they're from my old scrapbooks, back before I had a digital camera, and I had to scan them in.)

Jan Term, freshman year - at my house. Mark and I are showing off in the living room :)

After the Step Sing Exhibition (lovingly dubbed Step Swing by the Swing Kids) - not the best costumes ever (note my monkey arms hanging out of the too-short sleeves), and Amy Beth was dropped the last night of our performance ... but we still had a pretty good time :)

This is David. My uber-crush from freshman year. Dancing with me, on the quad, at spring fling, in front of people. I nearly had an out-of-body experience.

One of the finest moments of my freshman year :)

But as fun as David is to dance with ... this guy is my forever favorite dance partner :) This was before we were dating, when I was teaching him how to dance. It was my favorite night of the week :)

My last picture with David before he graduated

Fall break of our sophomore year - after lots of whining and being not-very-nice (which I'm still ashamed of), I convinced everybody to go to a ballroom dancing club in Chattanooga. Aside from the electric slide, Mark and I were the only ones dancing. (Why should that have surprised me?) It was not a good night - but the dancing was still awesome.

That was one of my favorite dresses to dance in - the skirt was swirly, and the fabric was stretchy and cool. And those shoes I'm wearing - just plain Nine West pumps - were my "official" dancing shoes. You can still see the slants on the rubber part of the heels from floor spins and wearing from my backsteps :)

Mark, at swing one night. I had SUCH a crush on him!!

This was my favorite night of swing dancing that I can remember. Mark bought that pink suit from the thrift store specifically for the occasion - we stayed until somewhere around 1am, and he was silly and laughing and perfect.

I wish the quality of this picture was better. It is my favorite picture of Mark that exists to this day. Ever. I mean, honestly - he's wearing pink pants, he's carrying an umbrella, his sleeves are rolled up (I have a thing with forearms...) and he is completely, ridiculously, indescribably happy. This is who I fell in love with, right here.

Before step sing sophomore year - dancing for my parents in the dorm lobby

And fast-forward to December of '06, our senior year. We'd just gotten engaged, and are at the Christmas Ballroom Dance in Florence, AL with Elissa and her friends and family. I'm teaching the boys how to foxtrot, I think. (Or the basic swing step?)

Check out that frame, man :)

Oh, I do miss it.


  1. Such fun pictures! I would love to learn to dance!

  2. You should! It's so, so much fun :) (And not as hard as you might think!)

  3. So fun! I wish my husband was as willing to dance as your husband. It's so great that you both share a love for it.

  4. Those pictures were great, thanks for sharing!