So I’ve happily modified my thinking to bring myself to a place where I can hoop like no one’s watching. It’s a great way to take the pressure off and relax into the moment.
This is particularly useful for me because during the last year or so, I’ve developed a passion for hooping in my local park. Like I said in an earlier post ‘time moves on’ the idea didn’t come easily to me at the beginning, so I found trees to hide behind early in the morning to reduce the chances of being spotted.
The urge was strong to conduct my beginner practice out in the open air but the thoughts of judgement from others kept wafting over me. Then I remembered my wonderful dance floor experiences. Ooh they were wonderful indeed. Ah, I can dream myself away easily just thinking about so many amazing dancing times.
I remembered how I transformed my enjoyment of social partner dancing when I discovered how to ‘dance like no one’s watching’. It was a liberating perspective and one which transformed my life.
Question fifteen: did my life transform because I changed my perspective or did I change my perspective because my life transformed?
Question sixteen: does it matter?
Well, now that I’ve drifted off a bit, I feel like sharing a few words about my previous dancing fun, which are only previous because I’m totally smitten by the hooping bug but I guess you could have figured that out for yourself.
Anyway, if you’re content to take a little wander with me down a movement to music inspired memory lane, grab yourself a cup a peppermint tea and an almond croissant, make yourself comfy and let’s see what transpires.
Many moons ago, a wonderful friend and partner at the time suggested we take ballroom and latin classes together. He had tried a couple of times in his youth and seemed to think I might enjoy it. He was right, it was more fun than I could have imagined but that was probably because I had no idea how much more fun was on the way.
Time passed, he lost interest, I continued without him and fell more in love with the variety of skills and techniques and more importantly the feeling of the dance.
More time passed, one of my pals at the dance school introduced a couple of us to the world of modern jive and a new me was born.
Wow, the other stuff was great but I found that I loved the freedom that came from this new less formal dancing with friends and lots of strangers in a variety of venues. I discovered parts of London which I never knew existed and danced my proverbial socks off.
I was lucky enough to be whisked around the floor by a plethora of adorable, proficient and skilled dancers who knew how to lead and wow they could lead really well. No matter where I went I just had more and more fun. However, you know what they say, ‘nothing lasts forever’. People started to drift away to other disciplines and some of my favourite leaders defected to the worlds of West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango.
I can’t say much about WCS because although I simply adore the way it looks, I never felt it. I had one lesson and that was enough but that doesn’t stop me appreciating the beauty of it. Years ago, I fell in love with a special, very special performance by Jordan and Tatiana and watching it still gives me goose bumps even after all these years. It may be old but never feels old to me.
Argentine Tango is a different story. A group of modern jive friends talked about it so much I gave it a go myself after much persuasion I can tell you. I just wanted to see what the fuss was about and once I started I loved it, really loved it and tango classes took me to even more areas of London which were new to me. I don’t think I’ve ever done so much driving to new places.
It was oodles of fun to dance with people who were excellent at jive and tango in both types of gatherings. What a treat that was. I was fortunate to have many favourites and one of them loved both dances so much he started providing online information to help people ease the transition from jive to tango. Like that wasn’t enough he now has his own business teaching tango classes and workshops. How cool is that? I would struggle to find anyone more passionate about this unquestionably intoxicating dance, so everyone is lucky that he’s sharing his skills and gifts so well. Well done David, you’re a star.
I attended lots of classes all over London and neighbouring counties, soaking up all I could learn from a variety of talented instructors. My last teachers were the wonderful Kim and David and I adore their friendly, inclusive teaching skills and their inspirational dancing style. One of the highlights for me was at the end of each lesson they would dance for the pupils, just for a couple of minutes and it was pure bliss to witness such elegance, grace and beauty. They are a simply adorable couple and I’m sure I’ll always have a soft spot for them when I enjoy fond memories of my adventures with Argentine Tango.
No matter how much I loved it there was something not quite working for me. AT is truly delightful but my experience is that I’m getting less serious as I get older (much to the dismay of my children) and even though this beautiful dance feels divine, I confess that the culture which surrounds it, is just simply too serious for me. I’m attracted to fun music and fun clothes and fun activities and I want to laugh more and skip more and play more. I’ve just stopped taking myself seriously, so AT had to go.
During my last year of all of this social partner dancing stuff, I added salsa to the mix of dance fun. I gave it a really good go and loved that too. I had many great experiences at salsateca classes adoring the teachers, venues and atmosphere. Elder Sanchez runs the classes around London and he’s a wonderful man who has successfully surrounded himself with an equally wonderful set of teachers. I enjoyed finding that salsa and bachata were another sublime way to discover self-expression. So many people having so much fun, what could be better?
At the Clapham class, I was surprised to find a teacher taking my group, with a hint of a spiritual edge. I thought my imagination was playing tricks with me when I heard him say the first time, “practise, practise, practise until you find the truth”. That wasn’t even a one off, to my joy he thrilled us by saying it often. What a gem. It was fantastic to hear someone speaking my language. I’m not sure it had the same effect on other people but I adored hearing him say it.
A couple of years ago I made a concerted effort to enjoy my dancing more, so in addition to classes and freestyle nights throughout the year, in the spring I went to an AT weekender in Dublin, Ireland, it was brilliant. In the summer I went to a salsa weekender in England’s wet and windy Wolverhampton, never mind the weather the dancing was also brilliant. In the autumn I went to a jive weekender in Torquay on what is lovingly known as the English Riviera, a beautiful seaside resort in England’s gorgeous county of Devon. All the dancing there too was brilliant. I remember them all fondly, a great time was had by all especially moi.
Salsa was fun, AT was fun, jive was fun, all fabulous places, fabulous people, fabulous music, fabulous dances, I adored them all, yet one thing led to another and they are no longer an integral part of my amazing life. I’m grateful to everyone I have ever met, at any venue, at any time because you have all contributed towards making my current enjoyment the pleasure that it truly is. Without dancing I suspect I wouldn’t enjoy my circle time nearly so much.
Question seventeen: am I enjoying my hooping because I dance or do I dance because I enjoy my hooping?
Question eighteen: does it matter?
Anyway, I’m glad I shared all that because they are happy memories and between you and me, happy memories are the only memories which I’m prepared to entertain. They’re happy memories of learning how to express myself to music and “dance like no one’s watching”.
Now that I’ve incorporated the same attitude to my hooping, I can disappear into the privacy of my own mind and “hoop like no one’s watching”. As a result, I’m even more in love with my circles.
So for any of my readers who have not yet dipped a toe into the world of dancing or hooping and you fancy giving them a go, prepare yourself for a mixture of fun and frustration, the proportions of each will be your personal choice. If any of you are already dancers or hoopers then you will know exactly what I mean. No doubt I’ll say more, much more about keeping the frustration to an absolute minimum some other time.
That’s enough for now folks, back when the mood takes me.
Before I go perhaps you might like to join me in a celebration of the abundance of links which are sprinkled throughout this mega post. Some of you may see them as decoration, some may see them as information, I’d like to see them as an opportunity to embrace the magic of modern technology. This linking ability allows me by the click of a button, to fully share my appreciation and love for the many amazing people and places which have filled me with warm and fuzzy feelings during these reminiscences. The internet is a wonderful thing.
Thank you for joining me. Have a great day doing something you love and if it works for you, do it “like no one’s watching”.
Blessings to you all and bye for now, CC xx