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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Congress of Vienna

I am a Fezziwigger to the deepest core of my soul. Our job at Fezziwig's is to introduce every last visitor to the joy of Victorian dance. I'd much sooner grab a stranger holding up a wall for a Congress of Vienna than dance with someone I know. It's the one dance where the lady can lead and help from her position just as easily as the man can from his. It's not nearly as much pressure for new dancers as trying to keep a rotary waltz rotating a full 360 degrees for 3 minutes. And most folks have watched it once and thought something like, "I could never do that" or "That's so elegant!" or "I hope to learn that sometime."

So I scan the crowd for someone who is watching the floor, but hanging back looking like they don't want or don't know how to dance. Last Saturday, I found one. He was elegantly dressed to the theme and when I asked, he pleaded the usual, "I don't know how and I've got two left feet." I said not to worry and that I'd be happy to guide him through. He trusted me enough to go out on the floor. I coached him through the usual - two opens and closes, some turning, two more open and closes, some turning, and 2+2=4, so now we'll do four open and closes, and some more turning. Then I stopped and faced him grabbing both hands and saying, "Whatever happens, don't let go." This is the riskiest part of the dance, because some hold on for dear life and won't let you turn, and others let go accidentally and then feel like they did it Wrong. He took my hands and I turned under and said, "Now just walk forward." And he did. Then we turned around the other way and walked forward again. Then I said, "Now you stand here while I sneak around you." He let me run around and I took his hands with me. I pulled back gently on the one behind his back and said, "Now just pivot backwards a bit." Then I snuck to the other side and did the same again. Back to the two hands, don't let go for a moment, and then we're back to the beginning.

By the second time through the full dance, he was looking really relieved and said, "I've been watching for four months! I didn't think I could do this." And that's it. That's why I do this. That's the moment that will fuel my love of dance for the next year.

Today I got a follow-up email from my dance partner via Facebook. It said,
Thank You So Very Much for the De-Liteful Waltz last Sat. evening, it was nice + really wonderful getting on to the floor, It's a kaleidoscope of magic, ever changing patterns - The way I'd hope it would be!!

Yay! I win! I'd thought he just meant he'd be watching Congress. Turns out he'd been watching it all. I'm a happy happy girl. And I have someone new to make a point of dancing with once at each event for a while.


  • I am the opposite when it comes to this dance.

    I don't think I could dance it with a stranger without feeling odd or exposed.

    I love dancing it with mrs. mice though. Lots of room for conversation and looking into your partner's eyes.

    By Blogger mice, at 12:10 AM  

  • ammy - the dance gateway drug

    By Blogger brookswift, at 11:53 AM  

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