So, a year later, I still find myself largely disinterested in rounds dancing, (As written about here). But here's the thing: I really enjoy couples dancing. I like waltzes, and cha-chas, and one-steps, and polkas, and did I mention waltzing? And I'll admit, I haven't been getting a lot of chances to do couples dancing lately --even the last waltzes from Scottish Country Dance have slipped through my fingers, as all my usual partners move to other parts of the world.
And so a few months ago, I let myself get pulled into a rounds dance, by one of the more proficient leads. He led me through the steps, giving verbal instruction for the things that couldn't be easily steered with hand motion, and well...the inevitable happened. I enjoyed myself. Hey, it's dancing, and in case this (poor, neglected!) blog wasn't a tip-off, I really enjoy dancing.
So that happened, and after it had happened once, well. I let it happen again. Not often, mind, but every few weeks, or months, I'd let myself get partnered with someone who can lead, and have them push me through the moves. And because I'm a good follow, I could do that. Theoretically, I could do that forever, just throw myself in the arms of someone talented when I'm at Tech Squares and want a dose of couples-dancing.
That's not actually how I dance. Ever. I don't think there's a form in the world that I could only do one role of and be totally content. And so I had my first dose of actual rounds instruction on Tuesday1. I learned a whole single waltz, from the lead position, with all the little components that comprised it. Huzzah!
My first reaction remains one of uncertainty: while strictly-following any couples dance feels about the same, properly leading a rounds dance, and doing all the called moves, is just downright *strange* in comparison to the rest of couples dancing I've done. I think part of the difference is that rounds dancing is a much more performative dance than most other couples dancing I do. There's a lot to it that involves pointing and posing, transforming the dance from just between you and your partner into something involving an audience as well.
Rounds dancing is also a lot more...frantic, for lack of a better word. I am used to, when setting my own pace as leader, being able to take time for myself or my follow to regain our footing and get back into the groove of the dance. Rounds dancing doesn't give you that time to refresh --there is no "basic step" that you return to in between doing flourishes. The whole dance is fancy footwork, and it can easily be overwhelming. (I treat it the same as DDR: when I get lost, stop, pick an upcoming point, and re-start there.)
I think I'm going to keep trying to learn, though. I still don't think of it as couples dancing in the sense I'm used to, and I might never, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. There is waltzing, and there is rounds-waltzing, and both are dance-forms I tentatively enjoy.
Plus, and this is important, rounds dancing is teaching me new moves to do as a leader. It might take some effort to translate them from the middle of a sequence to the middle of an unstructured dance, but learning new things to do as a lead is always a valuable experience in my book. I already have an advantage going to rounds dance that I have a lot of practise with keeping my footing steady to the beat. I might as well have an advantage to bring back to more typical couples dancing as well.
1: This is where I admit that my timing was awful --I am not going to be in town for the next two Tech Squares night. No more rounds learning for me, at least not until next month or something.