I’m boggled. Help.

Before I danced tango, I loved to dance “swing”. East, West, jive, lindy…just loved the high-energy joyfulness of it. I have not danced swing in 2 years and I reunited with a fellow swing dancing friend of mine this week. We went to this jazz bar in town that feels like you stepped back in time. Guys have their hair slicked and their sleeves rolled and shirts tucked in. Girls look like they are straight out of pin-up calendars.

I loved this look and loved the sound of the band. It was so cool to step into this little hole in the wall and discover a different world.

With excitement, my friend and I braved the dance floor. Immediately, I realized so many things. My smile was huge! I couldn’t help but laugh as we were bouncing and twirling and the room was spinning around me in a blur. I also didn’t care how rusty I was with swing dancing. It didn’t matter in that moment. Right after that, I knew that this was so different than tango. The communication between partners existed in the tension of the arms. A pull meant ‘come this way’. A push meant ‘go that way’. I never thought about swing like this before I danced tango. Tango is a bit rough with pulls and pushes. I couldn’t decide if I liked this way of wordless communication or not. Such a joyful emotion bouncing and twirling around but such an abrupt, chosen-for-me, sudden change of direction.

What really stood out to me more than anything came next. The song ended, we did a big dip, and my friend held my hand to guide me off the dance floor. Four complete strangers complimented him and patted him on the back with cheers of “great dancing out there!”, “You were a rockstar on that floor!”, “You kicked ass!”, “You were wicked cool! I loved watching you!”.

‘Couple immediate things happened for me as each person in succession showered praises…..

1. My ego had quite a bit to say.

2. Yeah, actually, he was pretty awesome. Attractively awesome. Totally see how their attention would be magnetically drawn to watch him move.

3. Exactly how different is swing and tango?

All those things settled and aside, now I’m wondering who is important in this dance? Is one person more important than the other? Is one role more important than the other? Is the leader the one who deserves the praise for some reason? Or is it the follower? Is it the man or the woman (regardless of what roles they are taking)? Who do you watch more? Who do you compliment more? Why do you dance with the people you ask to dance? Do these questions have different answers for different dances?

I’m boggled. Help.

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