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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars September wrap-up
Saturday 30th September 2017 7:43 pm

This month I tried morris dancing. I chose clog morris, partly because I liked the way it looked, partly because I liked the red in their outfits and partly because it was on a convenient evening. I really enjoyed it.

They only actually had two practices this month and I made it to one of them. Right at the start we learnt the polka step. Which looks easy when you see it, and I thought it was just a case of tapping one foot on the other side of the other (ie your right foot on the left of your left foot). But it turns out there's also two hops per step. And you're supposed to be getting your knees up. Which I found really hard when my legs already ached from ballet the night before. But I did manage to polka at a reasonable speed on the spot and going forwards. But completely failed to do it in any other direction - and we learnt a dance where you had to do it in every other direction (except sideways).

But I liked that it was hard. I had been thinking it might not stand up in the comparison to ballet, which is hard because there is so much to think about all at once. If all you have to remember is where you're going it's really easy in comparison. But I was thinking about where I was going and what I was doing with my feet and what I was doing with my arms.

I learnt one dance with sticks - they have two small sticks. The real ones have bells and ribbons on the ends and if I had one of those I'd have definitely hit myself in the head. On the plus side, holding those up was fine because it was never for as long as I've had to hold my arms out in ballet. I say I learnt a dance, I did have to be reminded of what I was doing, and my polkaing involved extra effort because I felt like I needed to add hops in order to move in the direction I should be moving in. But no one hit each other (with our bodies or our sticks).

I did also start another dance with what's called a sling. For practice these are basically just lengths of rope. That you then hit yourself with. Partly on purpose: at one point you have to put them over your shoulder and the only way to do that is to hit yourself in the back with them. And partly because I wasn't holding them high enough above my head to avoid hitting myself in the head. But I usually accidentally hit myself with things on a regular basis, so it all felt normal.

At least as a beginner we'd do a bit of a dance, then watch the non-beginners run through a dance, while we got a rest. Which we really needed by then. While watching one, someone told me she goes to the gym in order to be fit enough to dance, which I can believe. Especially when I watched one that involved polkaing all the way through.

The other thing that surprised me was all the general club stuff that went on. It's just the same as any club, and reminded me of fencing, which is the most recent place I've seen it. I realised I've missed that a bit, because ballet is classes and choir is set up a different way. The AGM notes reminded me more of Rotary and the sort of politics that goes on in any club.

I intend to go back. I'm not sure how well it will fit in going out three nights a week and when work gets busy in November/December. But at least it's something where it doesn't matter if you don't go every week. I just need to sort myself out a decent pair of trainers, because it turns out I've got really used to a sprung dance floor, and a school hard is really solid in comparison.

I'm going to give it 10 out of 10.


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