For week 11 of my 52 New Things we went square dancing. My friend Leigh, from last week’s painting class, accompanied me to the Laurel Theater for a night of frivolity. The Laurel Theater is absolutely gorgeous. It was originally built in 1898 and served as a Presbyterian church. At some point the building was converted to a performance arts space but nearly burned to the ground in 1982. However, the building has been renovated back to it’s original condition and was the perfect setting for a hoedown.
When we arrived, the band The Hellgrammites was playing. (Hellgrammites are little bugs that look like centipedes but with bigger legs. The band had awesome “Hellgrammite accessories,” or little sparkly plastic bugs you could pin to your clothing—Leigh tells me they were fishing bait.) The band was comprised of two fiddles, a banjo, a guitar, and (I think) a bass. They sounded great, and I hope to hear them play again.
Leigh and I did not bring dates so we partnered up on the first dance. This made things slightly confusing because we kept forgetting which one of us was supposed to be leading. However, this problem was quickly rectified when a gentleman, who was very serious about square dancing, asked us to dance. First Leigh, then me. He taught us the proper way to “swing our partner” and a few other steps. Throughout the evening we had a few different dance partners (including boys with Southern names like Rett and Bo).
I don’t recall any of the names of the dances, but we were taught several different moves and no two dances were alike. A few of the basic steps were the Dosado (two dancers passing around each other without turning their bodies), Allemande—though most of the night I thought she was saying “Alabama” (partners hold hands and rotate around each other), and Promenade (partners link hands and walk counter-clockwise, everyone usually did this in one large group). My favorite part of the night was a dance that called for one couple to raise their arms to form an arch while three other couples linked hands and ran through it. We had to run though at least 3 arches, which let to a lot of traffic jams and nearly running into other trains of people.
By the end of the evening the theater was packed. I was expecting an older crowd, but it was very diverse and mainly filled with younger people in their 20s and 30s. We even ran into one of our law professors. To quote Mean Girls, I love seeing teachers outside of school. It’s like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs. Surprisingly, it was BYOB, square dancers know how to have a good time. We finally left after 2.5 hours of dancing and we were too exhausted to continue.
Jubilee Arts hosts a wide variety of community events. We had such a great time square dancing that we intend to go back and try the different styles of dance they offer. My interest is particularly piqued by Scandinavian couple dancing (polkas, schottisches, and waltzes) and English country dancing (like in Jane Austen novels). What do you think I should try?
Thank You Instapundit
While I was square dancing I started getting alerts on my phone about new comments and followers on this blog. When I checked my blog metrics I noticed that I had several hundred more hits than I usually do in a given day. At first, I was very confused about what was happening. Then I realized it could only be one thing: An Instalanche.
Over the next 24 hours I received over 10,000 hits from 60 countries, including two I never heard of before (hello there Palau and Cook Islands). So, a big thank you to Prof. Glenn Reynolds and welcome to all my new visitors and followers. I hope you decide to stick around.
This note was waiting for me when I got to work the next day: