WEST COAST SWINGApproach With Caution

New Attitude Preparing For Lift-Off

by Joanie Fuller

Houston, we have a problem!

I’m at the bottom again! There will be no finalist’s chair for me for quite some time. I’m a true believer in the "tortoise and hare" syndrome. It’s been slow, but I’ve made it. After six years I’ve accumulated more than enough points to move up into advanced. Coupled with my 1st place Intermediate win at Swingthing last year (my favorite convention), and 2nd place Advanced win at Golden State Dance Classic, I can no longer hide in the shadows. Aw, gee, Ma, do I gotta go? The stress is killin’ me.

Talk about lift-off. Danced with a couple guys who tried to pull my advanced attitude out of the bottoms of my "sole" as they spun me so hard my feet were twirlin’ but the buckles around my ankles were ready to snap! Hullo? Pardon me sir I don’t require much propulsion, just a little notice before I have to buy a ticket to the moon.


Actually, I haven’t spent enough time dancing this past year. I’ve been trying to balance dancing and some much needed college courses. And I was worried that dancing was obsessing me? Ha! College courses will kill ya! They are far more stressful and they occupied more brain cells than I ever thought I had. I was up until midnight most nights trying to understand where I went wrong in life. Algebra? Whassat? X’s and Y’s. Are those chromosomes or what? I was having nightmares over it. So, I called a dance buddy of mine who helped me relate a formula to something I would understand. This is the formula he built for me.

I call it "The Pattern Man Formula" — If "S" equals the number of syncopated side passes you do in one song, and the 3-minute song is at 140 beats per minute; and "P" equals the number of 8-beat (non-styling) patterns that Pattern Man leads me into (it’s 50 because you count them), then "S" = (3X140/8-50) divided by 8 = 2. Oh.....I get it now! Wow, two side passes per dance. Sheesh! No wonder I never have time to swallow until the music stops.

I have lots of catching up to do get myself back up to dance speed. I’d worked so hard and never thought that one year off would push me this far behind, but it has. I’ve lost a little momentum. Now where do I find it? I’ve looked everywhere.

I know that eventually I’ll get there, but my advanced attitude is stubborn. I felt the same way moving out of Novice and now I wish I could have stayed in Intermediate forever. Somehow I just don’t seem prepared for these milestone moves. I see lots of advanced dancers doing those neat attitude spins. I simply cannot do them, yet. The only part I can do is the prep. Don’t laugh!! Attitude spins look so awesome, but they scare the raisins outta me. I know the recipe, but it still doesn’t work for me. Let’s see. It’s prep...spin...spot...tip...fall...and get up again. So far, the easiest part is getting up again.

I did move up to advanced in Sacramento this year. That was a great convention. I noticed, however, that there were just too many cute young girls, barely out of their teens, for the guys to dance with rather than older more sophisticated women of the 90’s. That’s fine though. It gave me plenty of time to sit and observe the centerpiece at my table, and to count the hours until the buffet. Hey, this calls for more algebra. We can do another equation on that one. If we tried to factor all the balding, pot-bellied male dancers under 50 who’d rather dance with very young female dancers, then how many pretty, sophisticated, intelligent and competent female dancers over 30 are left sitting?

Or, this one. If "O" equals an overabundance of woman...and "G" equals guys who’d rather dance with other guys...then how many gorgeous women are left waiting for the buffet OR learning to lead? Uh-oh, this is one of mine which of course doesn’t seem to have the right variables. And that’s why I write and leave the equations to others.

Please keep smiling, spinning, and spotting, and praying that your "attitude spin" gives you plenty of lift-off and takes you waaay OVER the buffet table and past the mash potatoes! And ladies...start learning to lead! And please, ask me to dance next time you see me sitting alone