Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea


Friday, August 2, 2013

How I Came to Love Swing Dancing

Nearly eight years ago I was dating a very kind man from the northwest of the US.  He had learned swing dancing, something I had never even heard of, in an elective class.  He began teaching me the basics while we were together, and being one of those girls who never felt comfortable with the regular style of dancing, I loved this new dance he taught me.  It had steps I could learn and practice!  Though I gotta tell ya, I was awful at it in the beginning.  Man, I had no clue what the heck I was doing.  But I loved it!  It took another 3 years before I was able to find a swing dancing scene that I both could attend and felt comfortable learning in.  I was a junior in college, invited to a small event by a guy friend to his friends apartment where we were taught the basics after a friendly dinner with a bunch of folks.  From that night on, I went out to lessons at my college scene twice a week almost ever single week for the next year and a half.  I still think back to those Wednesday night lessons where we had to practice in a local bar because we didn't have a room we could rent at school.  Using a dirty floor, surrounded by locals who were enjoying a beer and a cigarette, those nights were some of the best of my life.  Friday nights we would meet on campus, and I used to become so excited about dancing that I would only listen to swing music on those two days to get in the mindset for it later.  I was desperately in love, and nothing anyone said could take it away from me.
Swing dancing quickly became my outlet, my escape to another world even more exciting than books and art- it gave me freedom to express myself, a way to get close to another person without feeling scared or nervous, and a chance to just let loose after a long day or week.  I love the fact that each person I dance with is unique, each song a little different, each moment on the dance floor offering a new opportunity to try my hand at becoming a touch more creative, a dash bit better. Nothing makes me light up as much as moving across a crowded space does, and every video or photo you will ever see of me has proved that to this day.  Being on the dance floor, throwing out some swivels or dancing with a random lead who you connect and have a killer dance with makes me feel like a million bucks and pretty awesome honestly.  The confidence I feel skyrockets, and I love swing dancing for that.
When I finally moved back to my home town after graduation, I was a regular swing dancer, had graduated from east coast to lindy hop, charleston, blues, and even tried my hand at balboa.  I became a regular there too, and made some very good friends who I still talk with to this day.
It has been nearly 5 years since when I took my first class, and I can't believe how far I have come.  I feel extremely proud of myself, and love the label of swing dancer.  When I realize that I am able to dance with someone, that all they have to do is slightly touch my back with their hand in a certain way for me to know exactly what they are leading, and hold full dance conversations with someone I can't speak a lick to here in Korea, it boggles my mind!  The slight nuances that go in to dancing, the weight balance, the foot placements, creativity, and ability to react quickly to tempo changes, are things I never once thought I had the capability of learning!  It's such an amazing and accomplishing feeling.
In these nearly five years, I have attended some pretty amazing lindy exchanges, swing scenes, and events (a lindy exchange is a 3 day event that takes place over a weekend where you literally only dance the whole time, grabbing power naps between and food when you have a free moment, lol).  I have danced with leads from around the world, traveled to international lindy exchanges, and visited scenes in at least two other countries.  Though not as impressive as some of my friends *cough*Nicole*cough*, I am happy with what I have done.  I am not looking to compete with how much others do, and never want to take dancing to such a level where it becomes something I stress over.  I dance for fun, and fun alone.
In honor of my love for this solely American created art form, here are two of my favorite videos of me dancing.  The first is from my time home in the states in August of 2012.  The second is here in Korea just this past weekend.  I hope you enjoy and smile as much as I did.  :)

From your Seoul swing dancing girl,

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