Personal Narrative: A New Form Of Dance

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Dance has always been the center of my being. I started dancing when I was two and began following my dreams to becoming a professional dancer at a very early age. My favorite style of dance would most certainly be ballet for it’s structure and complexity but I also enjoy learning other styles as well. In fact, here at UMKC I was able to go way out of my comfort zone to a small studio known as City in Motion and learn a new form of dance called East Coast Swing. This style was quite different than anything I was used to with all my ballet background. I had to simply set all that I new aside and begin learning a beginner’s guide to swing dancing. As I walked into class, I noticed that there were a lot more girls than there were guys which…show more content…
Stanton began instructing the class by separating the girls to one side of the room and the guys to the other. He worked with the men on the concept of leading and initiating the movement and then he explained to the girls that we would have to learn to follow. Keeping that in mind, he showed us a a single swing movement where we would step on our right foot and then our left foot slowly. After we had executed that simple sway movement a couple more times, he added a rock step to the beginning of it. The pattern was essentially rock step, slow, slow, rock step. After we learned the step in opposition to the guys, we were instructed to find a partner. Everyone switched around so that we got to try it with all the gentlemen at one point that night. My partner, being the leader put both hands out in front of him with his palms up. I then placed my hands into his and proceed with the single-swing rhythm. Mr. Stanton mentioned that we should have connection with our partner and that our arms and bodies should move casually with our feet mimicking the other individuals. He said that there was no right our wrong way to do this style because it was simply used for instructional purposes for those interested in the harder swing styles. He proceeded to say that, “It was much easier to learn than the original forms such as Lindy Hop or West Coast swing because it taught the essential swing rhythm (doubles and triplets) in a simplistic form.” Although, there was a lot of leeway…show more content…
He stated, “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” How better to end the class than with a quote that perfectly summed the style up in it’s entirety? The most crucial part of swing dancing was the laughter and happiness that it brought with it! I learned that you had to be willing to get up and express yourself, be creative, have fun, and just simple laugh the whole way through. It’s a dance style meant to be enjoyed by everyone. It fits with all types of music, personalities and levels giving everyone an equal chance to participate which in return brought a community together expressing the term ‘social dance’. I strongly believe that Mr. Stanton did a great job thoroughly explaining the movement and the small amount of the details involved in the style as well as keeping the environment safe and enlightening. Being an unfamiliar style, it was rather nerve racking for me to walk into the classroom at first but walking out I felt completely different. I had added a new genre to my dance career and the residue it left on me will travel with me throughout the rest of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to East Coast Swing and will definitely be looking for the next opportunity to participate in

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