Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Do You Explain This Hobby?

I travel a lot for work. I meet lots of people. We usually spend most of our time discussing work stuff. How this part of our company works. How these are the things that we can do to help you your company accomplish x and y. But whether it's with new people working for our company or the individuals I meet at other companies, inevitably if I spend enough time with someone we start to breach the topics of what things we enjoy doing outside of work. And this worries me.

No, I'm in no way ashamed of dancing Lindy Hop - just the opposite. I just know that the words I use won't paint the correct picture in their heads, and it's not their fault.

First, if I say I like to do "The Lindy Hop" or "The Balboa" most people younger than 50 haven't really struggled with the meanings of those words - especially the later. So I say that I like to swing dance, but I know what this does. This conjures images of Dancing With The Stars, poodle skirts, sock-hops, everything the media has done to effectively destroy and alter the original meaning of the phrase. And I know that there's no REAL way that I can combat this in a short, polite conversation among acquaintances.

Second, I'm not a dancer's dancer. I'm a Lindy Hopper. I don't do the Cha-Cha or Tango, I'm not the type of person who just has to get on the floor as soon as the booty music comes on at a wedding, and I certainly have no great appreciation of ballroom. What I do have is a love of what jazz and jazz movement bring to my life. There is a very specific way that this music makes my soul come alive. There's also a very specific thing that happens in the brief 3 minute story a couple dancing together creates that will never exist again in exactly the same way.

I've learned that saying that I enjoy Swing Dancing creates a picture in someone's head that is about the furthest thing from the reasons I deeply enjoy Lindy Hop.

So take a look at this video because sometimes old cliches are true - and this is a moving picture, so how many words is that?

What Laura and Mike do here is to completely encapsulate why I love this dance. There's joy, playfulness, creativity, coordination, and a respect for the music.

Maybe I should just cut the conversations short from now on and just send them this link with a note that says - this. This is what I do outside of work.

Now to continue the joyful struggle to dance as well as they do.