Wow…just Wow! I have had one of my best weekends since moving to Ireland this last week. It also marked the first time I’ve been able to get out and meet so many local people here in Ireland.
Let me back up, at the beginning of September when Mister S went back to Canada leaving me all alone job searching and nearly friendless here in Ireland that I began looking for things to do. I had done some swing dancing many years ago and started to get back into it over last year. Limerick was supposed to have a bit of a local swing scene, but apparently it died a few years ago when the coordinator moved to Dublin. You can imagine my glee when I found out that there would be a swing dancing workshop in a nearby city at the end of September! Unfortunately, when I emailed asking if they had any spots left for follows (the girl dancer) without leads (the male dancer) I was told I would be put on the waiting list. As luck would have it though, I got an email two days before the event happened asking if I still wanted to go, and boy, did I ever!
After some scrambling about to book a hostel for Friday to Sunday, get my train ticket, and pay my fees, I was vibrating with nervous energy. I’m one of those people who tends to be quite shy unless you talk to me first, so going to a place where I know absolutely NO one tends not to rank too high on my scale of ‘fun things to do’ (I know, I know…if I have issues with it, why do I keep moving? You have to push yourself somehow!). Regardless, my fees were paid, and I was going! I will confess to walking around the block a good three or four times before finally going into the Cork Dance Studio for the first social dance on Friday night.
It was such a great time. The doors opened at 8pm, but most people didn’t show up until closer to 10pm, but that’s alright. It gave me plenty of time to make friends with a group of girls living in Cork who were from Italy. I was nervous over being rusty at the beginning of the dance, but as the night went on, I fell back into the groove. Valeria and Beatrice (sisters from Italy) were utter dears and offered to walk with me home once the dance was over at 1am. They lived closed to where my hostel was and didn’t mind escorting me back. We agreed to meet up the next morning at 10:30am to find the school where the workshops would be together.
There were approximately 20 people in the Level One class. It was perfect in classic Swing sense that either the leads or the follows were constantly being rotated so you got to dance with everyone. It was lovely to get to meet and talk with so many new people! On Saturday we had a one hour lindy hop class with Jon and Jenna from the United States. Swing outs have always been tricky for me, so this was a good class…despite the fact that I got so dizzy ^^ After lunch we had a two hour class with Kris (a Canadian who was living in Heidelberg) and Audun (a Norwegian from Oslo) where we elaborated on what we learned in the morning and got down some more steps. On Sunday we had an hour long solo jazz class (my least favourite of the weekend, but I’m also not a huge fan of solo jass…with the exception of the Shim Sham which is the only group song I know) and a class with the married couple Ali and Katja. This was probably the best class of the weekend. I can see why they spent most of their time with the upper levels. That said, all the classes were great and the instructors were very kind.
A nifty thing about all these classes, is that at the end, they let us take a video of them doing a run down of everything we learned. It’s a great way to keep yourself knowledgeable on what you’ve learnt in what might be an overwhelming time.
Chatting with a fellow who had flew in from Nottingham for the weekend with his girlfriend, he said that his dance with Katja was the very best one he’d had ever had. He also said that if he had known who she was before asking her to dance, he would have never had the nerve to ask her ^^ A sentiment I fully understand. Ali and Katja were on the floor more than any of the other instructors, but there was no way I was able to ask any of the instructors to dance. My beginner skill makes me a bit too nervous.
On Saturday night there was the Fancy Dress Party. Now, unlike in Canada, where a Fancy Dress Party might mean getting dolled up to the nines, in Ireland it means a Costume Party. I opted for simply dressing up in a 50s style dress with fascinator and dark red lipstick, but that’s also because I don’t have any costume supplies here in Ireland. There were so many great ones that night! Though, I have no idea how the ones who dressed up in fleece outfits survived at all!
It was a lovely weekend filled with fantastic people who all love to dance. I’ve been offered more than one couch to sleep on should the mood ever strike me to head up to Cork for a Friday night. I simply cannot believe how much fun I had. I wasn’t able to get any pictures myself, thanks to a fussy phone, so a special thanks goes to Sophie Rafiki O’Regan who posted all of these pictures on the Cork City Swing Facebook page.
Thanks for everything Cork City Swing!