Hi, my name is Allison, and I’m a swing dancer

I am a big advocate of hobbies — fly fishing, needlepoint, stamp collecting, ultimate frisbee, whatever floats your boat.  Everyone needs something to enrich their lives, to make them a bit happier and more relaxed, to take their mind off of stress and work.  For me, swing dancing falls somewhere between a healthy hobby and an unhealthy addiction.  It’s definitely good for me, but if I don’t dance for a couple of weeks, I start developing withdrawal symptoms.  Which is usually just a general pining and frustration in the lack of dancing in my life.

But here’s what happens when I go to cities.  Apparently.  At least starting now.  Within four days, I find their swing scene and join it.  And slip right in as naturally as I do in my home scene of NYC.  So swing dancing here is not an addiction, but a way to meet new people, to fit in and belong in a place you are completely unfamiliar with, to feel welcomed as soon as you enter the city.  Swing dancing is a special hobby that is internationally practiced and provides the best network of anything I know, besides perhaps college fraternities.  It also helps that the grand majority of swing dancers are decent, honest, down-to-earth people who will offer warm friendship and good advice and perhaps even a couch to crash on if you need it.  (Yes, there’s the 5% who are creepy, or socially awkward, or think that they are God’s gift to women — or men — on the dance floor, but they’re the distinct minority.)  So, long story short, I walked into a room I had never seen before to dance with people I had never met…and it felt like home.  It felt like a slightly toned-down version of Fram (weekly DJ’d NYC dance): a bit cooler, a bit less crowded, a bit less variety in the level of dancers, a lot fewer dancers, but it was Edinburgh’s version of Fram.  Thus, it’s home.  In…Scotland.  Why not?

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One thought on “Hi, my name is Allison, and I’m a swing dancer

  1. Addiction. Definitely an addiction. Luckily it is *typically* much more affordable than crack and your friends are unlikely to stage any kind of intervention. Did I ever tell you that I ran into Rosalyn (from Columbia, the school not the country) while dancing in San Francisco? That was definitely a little odd, but I guess not that unlikely once you grant that she was in town.

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