The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “swing dance”

Swing Dance Crazy

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of swing dancing.  I was first introduced to swing dance when my brother Andrew took me to a dance in Golden Gate Park when I was 13 or so.  I remember I only danced with two other people than my brother then, because I wasn’t as comfortable dancing with others and didn’t know as much about the dance as I know now.

Recently, I went to San Diego for my brother Andrew’s wedding.  At his wedding, we did a lot of swing dancing because Andrew and a majority of his friends are all really talented swing dancers.  I had a blast and I had the time of my life when Andrew, Liz, and Dewey and I took the stage and did an impromptu lindy dance in front of everybody.  At one point my brother picked me up and spun me around, and other times I was jumping in the air as he kicked between my legs.  The dance was intense because it ended up being to an 8 minute song called “Bill’s Bounce”, which wasn’t intended to be played during the dance session, but it was really fun.

I went swing dancing the following Wednesday and Friday with my brother’s best friend Jack as well, and had a great time.  I made some new friends, and learned some new dances.  I was sad when I had to leave on Saturday because I had enjoyed dancing in San Diego so much and meeting the people there.

Swing dancing is a great way to make new friends.  It’s a social dance, so you dance with as many people as you can and will meet lots of people.  And several of the people who are swing dancers tend to be pretty cool people from my experience.  There seems to always be a few creepy guys at every venue, but you learn to spot them and set your boundaries with them if they are bothering you.

I think whenever you find something that you are passionate about and get involved in it boosts your confidence as well.  The trick with getting involved in any type of dancing is being ok with not being good at it at first.  This is a hard thing to accept sometimes because you’re dancing with other people and want to do well, but with anything it’s going to take time to get better at something.  A lot of people try it and give up right away because it seems too hard, but if they would stick with it a little longer they would see that each time they practice they are getting better.  I’m very glad that my brother introduced me to swing dance when I was young, and I know it will be something that I will continue to do all my life.

To see what kind of swing dancing we were doing, here’s a video.  This style of swing dance is called lindy hop.

Trying Salsa and Latin Dancing for the First Time

One of my plans in trying new things was to sign up for a Salsa & Latin Dancing class.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of this class, but from what I’d seen on Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance I knew it would probably be a little out of my comfort zone.  I expected a lot of shimmying and shaking to say the least.

I figured I could handle it though, and my love for dance would get me through any moves I might find out of my element.  I’m an avid swing dancer, but salsa and Latin dancing were completely new to me.

And as it turns out, for a while I actually preferred my Latin dancing class over my West Coast swing class!  I really enjoyed the music and the movement, and surprisingly was better at moving my hips and getting into the rhythm than I thought.

It’s been a lot of fun learning Latin dancing, and has been a great workout as well.  So far I’ve learned Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Rumba, and Cha-Cha.  They’re all pretty fun, and Rumba is a nice break from all the faster dances.  My swing background has actually carried over to the Latin Dancing a bit too, and funnily enough some of the more advanced people in the class are convinced I’ve done this type of dancing before!  I’m just a quick learner.

At some point I am hoping to try going out to a salsa club and seeing what it’s like on the real dance floor.  Should be interesting!

Weekend Fun

It’s been a little while since I’ve written.  I had a lot of fun Thursday and Friday out with friends even though I started getting sick Thursday with a fever.  By Saturday I completely lost my voice other than a few croakings that would trail off into no speech coming out at all.  It’s Tuesday now and my voice is still a little weak and raspy and my cough hasn’t been fun, but I’m doing better.

On Thursday I played Frisbee afterschool with friends and had a picnic, and some of us went to a friend’s house afterward and went swimming.  It was a really good day though I did get pretty sunburned.  I played this Wii Kinect dance game by the way and did a few of the dances in front of everyone even though I had been avoiding it earlier.  Soon enough I told myself to just do it and everyone was calling me to go so I did, something I probably would have avoided before.  It was fun and not as embarrassing as I thought.

Friday night I went swing dancing for the first time in a month which was a lot of fun.  I’m glad I went even though I felt sick and miserable during the day.  I did have to deal with some annoyances of a guy sort of stalking me the whole night who I remembered as the guy who had asked me to dance over ten times the last time I came and had tried to get my number.  Everywhere I went I soon saw him moseying on by looking around in my area.  I avoided him enough though and only agreed to dance with him once this time.  I did ask a couple of guys to dance when I wanted to keep myself occupied, and I did get asked quite a bit so that was nice.  I had fun and brought some of the prom goofy dancing spirit into my dancing.  I probably wore myself out though and should have taken it easier so I wouldn’t have felt worse on Saturday.

I will update again when I figure out what I want to do in May and get that decided.  As of right now, I’m still dressing well and being aware of others.   I’ll probably be able to break out into more dresses and what not in May too once it’s warmer.  Being sick right now hasn’t helped either since the best thing for me is to dress warm so I can get better.  I might be posting a little less as high school is ending in about a month, and there’s very little time left.  I don’t want to get too caught up in my goals that I forget to enjoy the moment.   Thanks for reading, and good night!

Doing Well

Everything’s been going well since prom.  I’ve been in a good/happy mood and have been extra friendly.  I’ve been acting a little goofier too since discovering how much fun it was to let loose at prom.  I’m going swing dancing on Friday so I hope they play some fun music to dance to in addition to all the swing songs.  Hopefully it will be a busy and fun weekend as I’ve invited some new people to come play Ultimate Frisbee and am hoping to play tennis and possibly make some other plans.

I’ve been dressing in brighter colors mostly as it’s been too cold to wear skirts or dresses.  Even if I don’t get complimented, at least I can still compliment others each day.  It’s not too hard to notice something nice or different someone is wearing, whether it’s a top, necklace, shoes, or whatever.  This helps me keep the focus on others too when I feel a little self-conscious when I dress up.  At prom of course a lot of compliments were thrown around because everyone looked so nice and everyone was so excited for prom.

I’ve also been exercising more lately and have been taking my neighbor’s dogs walking whenever I can, and this week I have gone every day so far except on the weekend when she’s home.  Afterward I’ve been doing crunches, light weights, and just started doing lunges and squats.  I’ve also been eating healthier and have had more fruits and less bad stuff.  It’s been a little while since I’ve had a soda, even though I love it. I think these things have all been contributing to my happy mood too.

Hope you all have a great weekend and a Happy Easter!  We get a 4 day weekend from school, hooray!

Friday: Frisbee and Swing Dance

Last Friday was a pretty good day.  I went to play Ultimate Frisbee after school and had a lot of fun.  It’s mostly guys who play at the high school and they can get very competitive, but this time they passed to me and I enjoyed it much more.

I even joined in on this frisbee target game that I thought I would stink at and would embarrass myself in front of all the others, but it turns out that I was actually pretty good at it and nearly won!  I surprised myself and apparently the guys watching, who my friend told me were very impressed with me.  After frisbee we took a lot of fun pictures, and we laughed a lot.  🙂

After frisbee I went home and got ready to go out swing dancing.  My close friend Angela and her boyfriend picked me and my brother up, and we headed out an hour and a half for the dance.  It’s a long ways to go, but considering our town is too small to have swing dances, it’s better than not going at all.

Swing dance had been one of my main ideas on how I could talk to enough strangers last month, but it turned out that I didn’t get to go in January and had to find other ways to meet people.  I thought it would be easier to make small talk at swing dance, but that night I found that I felt really friendly in the beginning of the night, and later on more reclusive as I became more tired.

I did introduce myself to many people though and gave out a few compliments on cool-looking ties and an awesome handlebar mustache.  The guys were quite appreciative too, and when I told one guy that I liked his tie, he responded by saying, “Well I’m really glad I wore it then!” with a smile.

I got asked to dance quite a few times in a row in the beginning, and soon became aware that I had to stop dancing at some point and grab some water.  Some dances I sat out and watched.  Sometimes I simply just wanted to sit out because my legs were sore, and other times I felt shy and had a harder time finding someone to dance with.

One guy asked me quite a few times, and even when he didn’t ask me I could tell he was trying to out of the corner of my eye.  I asked one guy who I noticed hadn’t been dancing at all and had just been standing in the corner, smiling at the dancers.  He said it was his first time ever dancing, and we talked about swing dance and how fun it is.  He seemed pretty happy that I asked him, and he was sweet.

We went out to eat afterwards and that was fun too.  We had some interesting and unusual conversations.  We were hoping to see our usual waitress, but she wasn’t there so we met someone new.  She was pretty nice, and we all liked her.  I suggested that we should write a note to leave with her tip to try and brighten her day a little.  On a napkin I wrote, “Thanks for being such a wonderful waitress Jenna!  Tell Amy the swing crew came by!  Hope you have a good night!” And then Angela added illustrations of the food we ate in monster form, and we left it with the tips and headed for home.

It was a wonderful day, even though it hadn’t started that way at school and I didn’t feel better until frisbee. 🙂

Berkeley Trip

Today I went to Berkeley to celebrate my friend Gabi’s birthday.  Her dad dropped me, Bonnie, Christa, and Gabi off at the building for the Nano High science lecture at around 9:30am since we left at 9am.  The lecture lasted an hour or so, and was on the topic of plastics and polymers.  Parts of it were interesting, and other parts made me a little sleepy.  Pearl and Aaron surprised us too and joined our group.

Afterwards we went to Sproul Plaza to swing dance (which is a big open space of Berkeley next to a fancy gate, it’s by the student store and golden bear cafe), and people didn’t show up until 12pm or so for the lesson.  I talked to about 7 strangers at swing dance and made small talk about Berkeley.  It was pretty cold outside, but it was still fun.

We saw a group of people African Dancing nearby, which was pretty cool.  Some were banging drums to make the music while others were dancing choreography.

At around 1:30pm we went to Crepes-A-Go-Go to split savory crepes and sweet crepes, which were pretty good.  We got a smoked chicken one that was alright and a chocolate+strawberry (with banana and whipped cream) one.   I think next time I’ll try a different savory crepe and a different sweet crepe.

Then Aaron and Pearl had to leave, so we walked them to BART and parted.  The rest of us continued on to Yogurt Land, where Gabi and Bonnie got some frozen yogurt.  We then wandered around different stores looking for marshmallows and chocolate for s’mores later, and eventually found a store that had both, CVS.  We didn’t end up making them when we got home though because it was sprinkling outside.

Then we took BART back and her dad picked us up from there.  We got back at her house at around 5:30pm, and a bunch of other family friends and friends shouted “Surprise!” and surrounded her with hugs and affection.  She looked pretty happy and I’m glad she seemed to have a really great birthday.  We ate burritos and had cake for dessert.  We also watched some “Pride and Prejudice” and hung out and talked.  I went home around 9:30pm and was pretty tired, but it was a pretty cool day.

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