Thursday, April 19, 2007

Swinging Dublin

I had a very nice time at the Dublin swing dance last night. It was at the Camden Ballroom, which sounds rather grander than a little bitty dance floor in a restaurant/bar beneath a hotel. But it was a fine venue for the crowd size we had, and it seemed to be closed last night, since there were no regular customers there, only dancers. So that was kind of neat.

The evening started with an absolute basic East Coast Swing lesson, which I attended as much to have an easy way to meet people as for any other reason. The fact that I more or less know what I'm doing and that I also am always happy to dance with beginners helped a lot in terms of meeting people and feeling comfortable and welcome there. Some more experienced dancers arrived later in the evening as well. The overall skill level wasn't quite up to the level of lots of places in California, but everyone was perfectly good enough and enthusiastic enough to have fun, which is all I needed to enjoy it.

The partner-asking dynamic was kind of interesting. The gender imbalance didn't affect it much, since so many people were usually sitting out at any given time. These people would usually be off at a table or a bar and thus not very accessible to a stranger who might want to ask them to dance. Far fewer people actually standing near the dance floor looking available. But I still managed to get plenty of dances in, both asking and asked. I also had some nice conversations with some people, including one who turned out to be a co-worker, and another dancer with an invisible syllable in her name (Irish is fascinating that way).

Speaking of names, I started paying attention to my own name more than usual last night, since I was introducing myself to so many people. Sadly, I often say my name in a very flat, American-sounding, "Gram" kind of way. But over the course of the evening I found myself starting to give it more of the proper, British, triphthong treatment it deserves. I think there may have been some subconscious training going on, because maybe people understood it better in a noisy environment when I pronounced it that way, or because people kept repeating back to me it in an Irish accent. So it sounds silly, but I should really resolve to pay more attention to my own name. :-)

Overall, it was a lovely evening. Fun to be out dancing and making new friends. I'm looking forward to going back next week, and maybe even the week after, on the night before I fly home.

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