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Forty years without dancing
I started dancing contra in the early 1990's and I started callingcontra in the mid1990"s (I'm not acurate with chronologies). It took meabout six months of dancing to realize that one figure flowed into another.I came to dancing late in life. My father thought that dancing would leadme straight to hell, so I did not learn to dance when I was young. I waswilling to break the prohibition on dancing, but I was afraid that I wouldlook clumsy and stupid and foolish if I tried to dance. I was right, andI did. However, when I turned forty in 1987, I had an epiphany. Even withoutdancing I frequently looked clumsy and stupid and foolish so what did Ihave to lose by trying?

Introduction to contra
When I started coming to contra, I was still too shy to find a partnerquickly, and quickly is the only way that works. At the end of the eveningof the second time I came dancing, some woman said, "Why don't you comeback next week"? That little nudge was all that it took to get me comingto the regular weekly dances in Cincinnati even though I did not know thepeople, I did not understand the dances and I did not appreciate the music.

Becoming a contra dancer
With practice, something changed deep inside. I was standing with someother people at the back of the hall listening to the band. Someone askedme what I thought of the music, and I replied in a very bland way thatit was okay. What I was thinking did not coincide with what my body wasfeeling. My foot was tapping and my body was swaying. I had gotten hookedon the sound and the movement without my mind being aware that it had happened.

Totally committed
I confirmed my conversion to contra dance aficionado at my first outof town dance, "The Gypsy Moon Ball" in Indianapolis. Debbie Hall and Idrove to the Boy Scout Camp where it was held after I got off work on Saturday.She had reserved cabin space, but I had just brought a tent for sleepingafter the dance. When we arrived, it was almost too dark to put up my tent.As it got darker I gave up with my tent standing only a foot and a halfhigh (I was not a Boy Scout.).

The main part of the dance lasted from 8:00 until midnight. After fourhours of dancing, I was still overflowing with excitement. I continuedto dance the next part of the dance with open calling and open band until5 a.m..

After only a couple hours sleep in my deluxe accommodations (rememberthe tent?), I was up and a little disappointed that Sunday morning activitiesonly included breakfast, singing and a hike around the lake. I was readyto dance some more. On the way back to Cincinnati, Debbie, who had gotteneight hours of sleep on a bunk in a heated cabin, was too tired to drive.I got behind the wheel and put a contra dance tape in the cassette player.My driving only had one shortcoming. I could not stop bouncing up and downin my seat to the beat of the music. I was still ready to dance.

Today I need to pace myself a little more. As long as I move in gentleharmony with the other dancers, I feel great after four or five hours ofvigorous dancing. Sure I am tired, but happy...very happy.