Saturday, December 02, 2006

On Dizziness

It's been quite a while since I've gotten really, properly dizzy. Too much waltzing really makes you less susceptible to it. FNW last night was fun, though. First of all, Richard played a hyperspeed waltz that was actually hyperspeed, rather than the merely fast stuff that usually goes under that heading. Dancing with Annaka, it takes a lot to make it feel like we're really pushing our speed, but this one was fun. Something like 240 bpm? I can't remember exactly. It was a legitimate challenge, though, which was fun (but still doable). And it gave me a little bit of a dizzy wobble (that's fun to say) coming out of it, but not too much.

I got my real dizziness on a polka, though (and again, with the indefatigable Annaka). It was a fastish polka, and somewhere midway through it, I guess I just started feeling like pivots were more fun or easier than actual polka steps. So we did nearly the last half of the song entirely in pivots, which probably got us two or three time around the room. Steering actually worked reasonably well. I could distinguish different colored blurs in my field of vision, representing open floor, other dancers, and walls, and we usually seemed to have enough of the first to be able to aim for it and avoid the second and third. And taking that very macro sort of view is probably what kept me from getting too dizzy while we were actually dancing. (If I hadn't had to steer, of course, there would have been no problem.) It was after we stopped that things got really crazy.

Somewhere in one of my cognitive psych classes, I learned about what happens if you get glasses or contact lenses that flip your field of vision upside down. If you wear them long enough (I forget how long) your brain actually flips the image back for you, so it can make better sense of what it's seeing. The problem then is when you take the lenses off, but your brain is still doing the flippy thing. Then you're seeing things upside down all by yourself, which, I have to imagine, could be a bit creepy. Well, when you spend a full minute or so just pivoting and then stop, you get a similar effect. I think my brain was automatically counter-spinning what I was seeing to some extent, to try to get the visual signals into a form it could parse. So when we stopped, it was still trying to compensate, which makes the room appear to spin even while your body is holding still, which creates the cognitive dissonance that makes you dizzy. Wheeee!

And from there, of course, there's not much to do except enjoy it. :-)

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