For some dancing is an art, for me a tragedy

Published 6:34 am Saturday, December 8, 2018

It was made pretty clear early in life that dancing was not going to be my thing.

This came quickly to the forefront of my thoughts when the Cotillion Club welcomed myself and reporter Hannah Yang to one of their dances Tuesday night.

For future reference, we will be running a story in both the paper and the March-April edition of Austin Living. Definitely something to look forward to.

Email newsletter signup

But, that’s not what we’re going to be talking about in this, because as I watched members of the club spin and twirl on the dance floor of the Austin Country Club to fresh play of the Barry Rush Trio, I was reminded of my own dancing — such as it was — in high school.

Something you need to understand about my dancing right from the get-go. It very loosely meets the known definition of dancing.

According to Britannica: “Dance, the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.”

For me, the definition rather horribly was summed up as: “The moviing awkwardly of body parts, in a random series of moves reflecting social mannerisms in an undignified manner.”

I’ve had very concerned people come up to me ask if I’m okay upon seeing me dance.

“Nothing, I’m just grooving,” I would say, twirling in what I think is an audition for the sixth Backstreet Boy.

“Oh, honey,” the concerned person would say and then just frown, pat my shoulder and leave me to my convulsions.

That’s pretty much been a common trait throughout the years on those rare occasions where somebody was able to to coax me out onto the dance floor.

Depending on your view, high school was the worst because I had no concept of what good and bad dancing was. Nobody really did, but then I grew up in the 80s. Not an especially good  decade as far as dancing went.

There was, what I’ve come to define as, the sway, popularized by Carlton Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” And then there was the shuffle, dedicated to slower songs or power ballads like Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

Man, that song could wreck a person if break-ups were involved, or in my particular case struggling to even talk to girls.

You, random high schooler representing the one reader of teenage years. Head to YouTube and look it up. If someone has even threatened to dump you, this song will remind you on all the wrong levels. I’m both sorry and a little bit happy for sharing this song.

Really, it’s a pretty good song that holds up well.

At any rate, the shuffle was about as good as I ever got, as it required very little coordination. It was literally shuffle to the left, shuffle to the right, avoid looking into the girl’s eyes because you were scared of girls.

Things didn’t improve much in college because other things were involved that would give the student the idea that you were better at various things than you actually were. Various drinks of various strengths would often combine to give you a horrible misconception of what you were capable of.

So now, when the girl talked to me, suddenly I wasn’t scared of her, as my conceptions have now slipped horribly in the other direction.

Not only was I not afraid of girls at that point, but I was determined to show her how unafraid I was by demonstrating the few moves I had discerned from whatever MTV show I happened to be watching the night before.

Of course it was a disaster. You have to ask?

I was a typical college student under the influence of … misguided perceptions of how the girl asking me to dance actually felt about me.

As I got to be an adult I realized that decisions were fully within my control, dancing became less a part of my life, which is good for all involved.

It takes away from awkward phone calls to police about a possible crazy man making odd movements in public places.

By now you’ve probably realized that not all of this ran through my head while covering the Cotillon Club, but it got me thinking that in my youth, if the dancing wasn’t particularly exciting or even warranted, the music was.

That’s probably what reminded me and in the end it got me into the spirit of Tuesday’s dance.

I had a lot of fun covering the event and found I was welcomed throughout the night. I can’t wait to share the club’s story, which is turning 100 this year, and the pictures.

And if it does remind you of some song you were fond of then you are doing it right and then there was probably someone who remembers fondly watching you shuffle awkwardly across the dance floor.