Everybody Dance Now!


Readers of Risky Regencies know all too well I lurve Dancing With the Stars. My family says I’m “obsessed”, which is not true. Well, maybe a wee bit true. Alas, this season had its finale last week (yay, Helio and Julianne!), and my Monday and Tuesday evenings are bereft. But I do have 2 things to console me. 1) I came up with 3 new stories (2 sold!) inspired by the show! To see how I use a ballroom dancer, a racecar driver, and a speed skater as Regency and Elizabethan heroes, stay tuned. Because I’m not 100% sure myself yet. 2) I gave in to a long-held dream and started taking ballroom dance classes!

I’ve had lots of ballet, some flamenco, a bit of waltzing, but no Official Latin Dances. During the last DWTS season (the one Apolo and Julianne won), I signed up for an Intro to Latin class at the local community center. I enjoyed it so much I went on to the teacher’s school and enrolled in Beginning Latin. And Workplace Sweetie (who needs a new nickname, considering neither of us works there now!) has joined me there. In fact, tonight we’re going to “Latin Night” at a local club, to try out our mambo and cha-cha in public for the Very First Time. I have a new dress–if it fits after Thanksgiving. Keep fingers crossed I don’t fall or twirl the wrong way and knock people over! Those of you who have been to Beau Monde Soirees know this is a distinct possibility…

My favorite dance is the Samba, so just to save this post from total Me Me Me nonsense, here is a Brief History of the Samba:

The Samba is considered the “national dance” of Brazil. It became a society rage in the 1930s, and came to America courtesy of Carmen Miranda movies in the ’40s. It’s a lively dance in 2/4 time, but with 3 steps to every bar which makes it feel like a 3/4 timed dance. The basic components include walking and side steps (like the Volta, a step to the side with one leg passing over the other) taken on the ball of the foot, samba rolls, and a vertical bounce action through the knees. It’s a carefree, quick dance–it should look like you’re just dancing out of sheer happiness and NOT counting the beats. I still have trouble with that one, since I tend to worry as I step and cross and bounce!

Some good CD’s to start with include Batucada Brazileira and Let’s Dance: Samba. There’s also a segment on the DWTS workout DVD.

What are some of your favorite dances, either to watch or try? Wish me luck tonight! I’m going to need it.

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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