New year’s resolutions update: join a class or club.

This month, I had resolved that I would take a class or join a club.

So on Wednesday, I headed off for my very first New Vogue dance class.  I’d never actually heard of New Vogue before, but I knew it was an older style of dancing and I was keen to give it a shot.  After a bit of research, I learned that New Vogue is an Australian dance style that originated in the 1930’s.  It features a series of pre-choreographed dances that have between 16 and 32 steps which are repeated in sequence until the end of the song.

I was extremely nervous before my first lesson.  I have practically no dance experience (except for a couple of years of bellydance, but I didn’t think that those skills would apply here).  I was sure that I wouldn’t know anybody at the dance and I was worried because I didn’t have a partner.  I didn’t think that anyone would want to dance with me because I was a stranger and a beginner to boot.

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I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The people at the dance made me feel so welcome and were very encouraging.  Right away, one of the gentlemen got me up and taught me the basic waltz step.  He was so kind to me, even though I kept tripping over my own feet!

The dance club meets every Wednesday night.  The beginners are supposed to come at 7pm, and spend half an hour practicing with the instructors.  From 7:30 to 10:30, a dance is held.  About 12 dances are performed each night, with supper served at the midpoint.  Unfortunately the information I got about the times was wrong, and I arrived at 7:30 so I missed the instructions at the beginning.  It didn’t really matter too much though.  I was encouraged to sit and watch for a while.

I was amazed.  The average age of the dancers is 65 years, but they move like much younger people.  It was easy to tell the couples that had been dancing for a long time, because they seemed to glide around the floor.  Their movements were so fluid and perfectly in sync.

I also couldn’t help but be drawn to the glamour of some of the women who were dancing.  They were all beautifully dressed and very stylish.  I couldn’t stop staring at a slight woman with a figure as dainty as a little bird.  Her white hair was cropped into a bob and she wore a perfectly tailored blouse and a flowing cream skirt.  On her feet were a pair of beautiful champagne-coloured dancing slippers with rhinestones on the buckles.  Although she must have been at least 65, she was possibly the most graceful thing I’d ever seen.  Her every movement was precise and measured, but seemed completely natural at the same time.  I spoke with her during supper and she told me that she’d been dancing since she was a teenager.

I was introduced to a couple who had competed in New Vogue dances for decades and now teach others to dance.  They really took me under their wing, and the gentleman took me to a quiet corner to teach me some of the steps.  He taught me how to do the Festival Glide.  When the music for The Glide began to play, he took me by the arm onto the floor.  I danced the whole dance with only a few minor hiccups.  I was so proud of myself.

My dance instructor also taught me the steps to The Merrilyn, which is a waltz.  He was such a patient teacher and I truly appreciated his help.

Another gentleman got me up onto the dance floor during the Sallyann Cha Cha and tried to teach me.  I didn’t do too badly, but I did tread on his toes a few times.  He didn’t mind at all though.

Just as I was struck by the grace of the women, I was blown away by the manners of the gentlemen.  I don’t think I’ve ever been treated with such chivalry and politeness.  It was so lovely.

I had such a wonderful time at the dance. Everyone was so friendly and I learned quite a few new steps.  Although it will be a while until I’m ready to show off my skills, I’m very excited at the prospect of learning the dances.  I’m so glad that I gave it a shot and I can’t wait for the next class.

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