Swing Dancing: Circle of Life

It’s funny how life circles back on you.

My wife and I took a jitterbug class taught by Swing Des Moines instructors in the fall of 2005 which was part of the West Des Moines Adult Education program. Three years later and we’re teaching the class… and loving every minute of it.

This past weekend, I was talking with two attendees of the Swingin’ at the Crossroads workshop over dinner. They asked us how we got interested in swing dancing. I told the story of how I enthusiastically reluctantly attended the first lesson that Janet had enrolled us both in. There we all were, about 10-12 couples, apprehensively encircling a pair of SWING DANCERS who were there to teach us. They were encouraging and gentle with us. And after the first lesson, I was hooked….

There’s something special about swing dancing. I’ve described it to my friends as a guilty pleasure and as a secret language. There’s a joy in it — you can’t lindy or jitterbug or collegiate shag or Charleston without a smile on your face. A dance like Swing Des Moines’ own monthly Jive Junction (third Friday of every month) leaves me energized for hours.

Teaching a jitterbug class is yet another joy. At the first fall class we asked the each couple to tell us who was there “under duress” and there were several men who admitted that their partner “just told me I was coming”. It’s the circle of life. And it is wonderful to be part of the chain from teacher to student to teacher.

At least one couple braved their first Jive Junction in October while still taking their first swing class ever, just like we did three years ago. They, too, claimed a darker corner of the dance floor to practice their jitterbug steps and turns. And, although she may have been nervous to dance with “the teacher”, she did anyway….and was a GREAT partner.

….I couldn’t be prouder…..


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