So the challenge begins...

July 11th, 2014, 10pm

Day 1 of the #100happydays was an easy one happiness-wise because it involved some serious outdoors Lindy hopping (swing dancing for those not familiar with the term). Lindy Hop is probably the happiest dance out there. I don’t think I have ever danced it without smiling and I don’t think I ever danced it when I was feeling low because I could not reach the levels of happiness it requires.

Day 1 of the challenge and the only challenge for me was that for the first time in 3 years I danced almost exclusively as a follower. And I danced a lot! For three years I have been dancing the boy’s part because that’s how I started learning the dance (due to a shortage of boys) and I stuck with it because I liked the jazziness of the leader’s part and because I wanted to perfect it. But it’s not always easy dancing as the boy because most girls, especially abroad I’ve noticed, would rather dance with a boy, even if some girls are better leaders. Something about gender roles there…something about them thinking that you may be a homosexual (which I am not), but that’s a whole different discussion.

So usually when guys ask me to dance I politely decline. But this time I decided to accept for a change, but once I said “yes” to one I could not say “no” to the rest, so I ended up dancing almost exclusively as a follower. I simply warned them that I am a beginner follower, so they wouldn’t go to extremes move-wise — not that it stopped some of them. I must admit I had lots of fun following for a change. I was not very good but I was neither as bad as I thought. I even danced with an American tourist/lindy hopper who just happened to be there with his girlfriend and when I told him I usually lead he said, “Well, I can follow!” And he was a darn good follower.

I have enormous respect for guys who are not afraid to dance the girl’s part. I mean, yes, Lindy Hop is partner dance, but it’s also just a Dance and when we dance we can be free to do whatever and be whoever! So just dance! Don’t discriminate!

sophie, Christine and Shu said thanks.

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Maria Coveou

travel journalist, translator, freelance script supervisor for film & TV, film buff, lover of the written word and of music, blogger, vintage lover, '80s child, occasional flapper, Lindy hopper, traveler, thinker, dreamer, temporary alien []

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