Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why I do the 24 Hour Cancer Dance-a-thon!

My mother is currently recovering from her second surgery to remover her cancer. Her appetite is growing and hopefully she'll make a strong come-back.

My father had a form of blood cancer before he died. He had other health issues as well, but the cancer was no help.

At the age of 12 I was told by a dermatologist that I had a high risk of skin cancer. So I wear sunscreen when I remember and I try to stay indoors a lot and eat well.


If you haven't heard of the 24 Hour Cancer Dance-a-thon before, its a large event put on by some Lindy Hoppers down in Irvine with proceeds benefiting the City of Hope, a center for cancer research, care and education.

I've been contributing to the 24 Hour Cancer Dance-a-thon since its inception several years ago. Certainly that was before I had learned of either of my parents illnesses. Now that my mother is fighting the disease too I have to think about why I've done it all these years.

If you haven't read it before, here's my write-up of the event back in 2009: What a Difference a Day Makes.

Here's a video re-cap of last year's event that I found on Youtube:

Going all the way through it is an emotional experience. I can't remember a year during which I didn't laugh, cry and feel a great amount of love. It's a very moving event. It's also loads of fun. That's certainly part of what makes me return.

Maybe that's only part of it.

I think I do it because it's very close to home. My parents, me, even friends I haven't mentioned here. I dance for me and mine. It could be your parents, you or your friends. I dance for you and yours too.

24 Hour Cancer Dance-a-thon 2011 is only two weeks away. Please consider participating or making a donation. Even a few dollars will help a really worthy cause. Even a few dollars can make a big difference.

If you love dancing and hate cancer, please figure out how you can help!

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why you need to fail

Thanks to Daniel Young, for bringing this to my attention. I've posted more thoughts over on Glow-in-the-Dark Thoughts: The aftermath of Failblog

This seems to make a very good synthesis with the posting I wrote recently on the subject of being a beginner.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thoughts for Beginners - Lindy Hop edition

Last Thursday I went in with little to no plan and we did a class on shock absorption. Remember that your joints are there to help you move around and stuff.

The quote above was posted on Facebook yesterday and attributed to Ira Glass, host of This American Life. I've found it quite resonant so I'm posting thoughts on it here and over at Glow in the Dark Thoughts, my blog about stuff in general.

Nowadays it can be a really intimidating time for a person to come to LindyGroove as a rank beginner. I often liken a beginners' class to the first day of snowboarding: you spend more time on your ass than on your feet.

New folks come into swing dancing and see some dancers who have rudimentary partnering skills or better and get all freaked out. It's one thing to be a beginner and another thing to do it in a room full of people who don't seem to be beginners.

If you're a beginner I should point out this: 90% of the people in the room are beginners too. Otherwise they were beginners at one point. Every dancer on the floor had a first day and on that day they felt somewhat like you.

I have observed a lot of fear with beginners of dancing with folks who have stronger skills. Anyone who has danced for a while knows that this is essential to growth, but at first we just feel like we haven't earned it yet. When I taught the beginning Lindy Hop class, I assigned my students the homework of finding at least 5 folks they hadn't met in class and verbally asking them to dance. I'd teach the phrase "would you like to dance" verbatim and I still feel like it's the most important lesson a beginner can learn.

For those beginners who feel terror at the notion of public exhibition, I'll offer this advice: the dancers on the floor can barely see outside of their space bubbles. They won't notice you unless you physically harm them in some way. Be careful not to bash into folks and you'll be fine!

And then some folks I meet say that they suck at dancing and they know because they tried it once or twice. If this is you then I say "Duh! How can you be any good at something if you've only done it for a couple of hours?"

Rant over. See you soon!

Now with video!