Dance From the Center

Portland Dance Festival

Ah… dance conventions. To all those who have experienced one, those two words will bring a fair share of memories. Where else are you going to learn about dance all day, socialize with friends, compete, dance until 5am when the ballroom closes, and then wake up at 8am to do it all again for a couple more days?

Jenni and I hit our magic spark at the Portland Dance Festival two years ago. I had gone dancing at a Chinese restaurant on a Friday night with some friends and my parents as they were learning a little bit of ballroom and felt safer with other Chinese dancers. I knew that PDF had started, not too far away from where I was. I was planning on saving money and not attend the Friday night dance (as I tried the year prior and failed =P) but after dancing a little ballroom, I felt compelled to see how many WCS dancers were in the “Swing Room” at PDF, which is primarily a country dance event.

When I got there, the registration person was really nice and took no charge for the night’s dance since I had spent the day prior decorating the swing room with one other person. The swing room was empty so I peeked in the ballroom to see what was going on. I saw some familiar swing regulars watching the last of the dinner show, so I decided to stay and dance.

Conventions have a bit of magic to them. Because there are so many different dancers and different levels, I feel inspired and generally have a great time dancing. Dancing with new people is a great joy in that all the “same old, same old” moves become fresh again since the new partner is a somone who doesn’t know my tricks and I don’t know her’s. As much as I’d like to save money, dancing is always worth it. I forgotten that I probably shouldn’t have come that night quickly as I got immersed in the dance floor.

I had danced with Jennilyn before- in competition the very first time- and didn’t have great dances with her. She was talented, I could hold my own, but just like any relationships, two awesome people don’t always make for a good partnership. I had difficulty leading her not because our respective skills, just we hadn’t built the right connection. Well, at PDF it all changed. Either she came and asked me or I went and asked her because she seemed real nice and I would enjoy dancing with her more, we had great dances. It’s like meeting a stranger and clicking. I led, she followed. I played, she played. It was just fantastic…. it was the kind of dances that make it exciting and intoxicating. After each dance, I thought it must be a fluke… a lucky dance since we don’t dance well together, but each time we danced (which became quite frequent after that first one for the night), they just got better.

Now two years and many dances later, we danced at PDF last night and it was great. The room was packed with local and out-of-state dancers alike. Terry West pumped some great music, dancers of all levels were dancing, and Jenni and I enjoyed each other’s dances as husband and wife.