Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dancing the Blues

Yesterday, while briefly rummaging through the offerings at the local bookstore, my eye was caught by a book purporting to tell me how I could remain fit and youthful after fifty, and not succumb to all the ills of my parents' generation (which is a much healthier one than my grandparents', I can assure you). The gist seemed to be that one must immediately begin to exercise six days a week.
It is unlikely that I will ever manage to exercise six days a week, as I have a prejudice against any form of exercise that is not also relatively enjoyable, and so many of the things I need or like to do are sedentary. On the other hand, I am opposed to the idea of sliding into physical decline, and I have been perhaps unusually sedentary since Christmas or thereabouts. I was pleased that Cesar and I had already made plans to go to a blues dance class that evening.
In the last two or three years, Cesar has become well acquainted with the dance-class scene in San Francisco, so I have been after him to clue me in on some of the better venues. I suppose I could have gone back to frequenting Berkeley's Ashkenaz, but it seemed like if I finally knew someone local who also liked to dance, there was no need to go alone. After all, until one visits a place, it's hard to know whether it is more a couples hangout or just full of people who like to dance.
The blues dance class was pleasant and pretty easy, since apparently blues dance doesn't require learning any steps. (I have an extremely poor memory for dance steps, although I can follow fairly well.) It was the first dance class I had attended where the instructor wanted participants to give a rundown of their dance experience, however. While few people had much blues dance experience, it sounded as though they all spent a lot of time doing swing, lindy hop, tango, and ballroom. While I did get good enough at west coast swing that several good dancers used to seek me out at the Live Oak Park swing dance evenings, this was at least seven years ago and there has not been much dancing in my life since then. My dance background is very spotty, considering that I really cannot recall how to do the pavane, the galliard, the minuet, or any other thing that requires my keeping track of what comes next.
After class was over, I got in a reasonable amount of dancing. The etiquette at this particular venue appears to be that one must not dance with the same person twice, which is a little more extreme than I am used to. At Live Oak Park, it seemed permissible to dance several songs with the same partner before moving on, although frequent exchange of partner was considered a good idea. It was even acceptable to return to a previous partner. Of course, I suppose I was in better form then too.
The atmosphere was pleasant, most of the music was good, and all of the dancers seemed pretty competent. I would have been happy to have danced a little more.
At the same time, I was most disconcerted to find that the parvovirus or whatever it was that afflicted me a month ago seems to have left its mark on my joints. I knew that I was still feeling problems in one of my fingers, but even the warmup, let alone the dancing, seemed to bother my back, and all of my joints seemed rather unhappy, and continue to today.
I take the view that my joints are just going to have to get over this viral residue and participate in dancing, skiing, and other activities, but it was a hint that I might need to exercise six days a week to convince them to cooperate.

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Blogger Kristen said...

Sorry your joints are still bugging you. Just baby them a bit and they'll get back in gear.

August 13, 2007 6:15 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Well... I thought babying them for a month or so should really be quite enough!

August 14, 2007 6:49 AM  

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