Risky Regencies

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.

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Diane Gaston
15 years ago

Having been your dance partner for many a Regency country dance, let me say lessons won’t hurt (hee hee).

Truly, I am envious of you and Workplace Sweetie! I hope you have TONS of fun, because I think that is the real purpose of dancing…the most fun two people can have standing up.

So have lots and lots of fun

Amanda McCabe
15 years ago

“let me say lessons won’t hurt (hee hee).”

Thanks a lot, Diane! You know how to bolster someone’s confidence. 🙂

The music should be lots of fun, if nothing else! There’s going to be a band from Brazil. If I fall down, I can always just stay sitting and enjoy the music! 🙂

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Continuining on Diane comment, here’s a quote from GB Shaw, “Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.”

Go, go, go, Amanda. New job, lots more books contracted to write, dance classes, and Sweetie. Have a fabulous time tonight (and tell me all about it.)

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
15 years ago

Hi Amanda,

I too was inspired with DWTS to take ballroom this year. I take cha-cha, samba, salsa (which is mambo), rumba and hustle. I love it, and I’m now taking 5 classes a week. I have to say my weakness is the rumba. I love it because it’s so sexy and romantic.

Susan Wilbanks
15 years ago

I haven’t done much dancing, but I have fond memories of being taught the jitterbug by a college friend who was president of the swing dance society. He was the definition of a good lead. I’ve gone swing dancing with other guys, but it’s just not the same when they don’t quite know what they’re doing.

The other dance that stands out in my mind was at a Burns Night dinner, again at college, where they did Scottish dancing. The set dances didn’t work well because there were too many drunk people who’d never done that type of dancing before. But we did one where we got to stay with the same partner, and I was with a friend I had a bit of a crush on. He was graceful, musical, good-looking, 5’10” to my 5’7″–throw in my crush and my love of Scottish music and it was the Best Dance Ever. I think of that one every time I need to write a dancing scene.

15 years ago

Oooh Susan, that dance sounds magical! I’d love to throw a Burns Night dinner.

Have a super time in Brazil-Land, Amanda.

My favorite “dance” will be watching my eleven year old daughter in the Nutcracker tonight. She’s a soldier. She’s loving it because she gets picked up by a mouse and dies on-stage. Oh, the drama. I can’t wait to see her.
Of course, she’d kill to be Clara!

I’ve wanted to take belly dancing class for two years now. But I’m still wistfully driving by the studio…

Deb Marlowe
15 years ago

I hope you have a grand time, Amanda! Let us know how it goes…

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Elizabeth–oh, my!! That’s impressive!!

Megan Frampton
15 years ago

I would LOVE to take dance lessons.

How cool!

I would’ve gotten hooked on DWTS, but the husband would make vicious fun of me for it. It’s barely enough I can watch PR without him mocking me (now Top Chef, he’s just as obsessed by. Go figure).

15 years ago

Cara and I have done only relatively little ballroom dance–partly a result of the fact that in the first class we ever took (together) they were teaching the Tango, which is not the best choice for beginners. 🙂 But I think we enjoyed some of the dances better, and our favorite (from a later class we took) was the Rumba.

This enjoyment was increased when Cara noticed that a very bizarre pop song called The Female of the Species is More Deadly than the Male actually had a Rumba beat. We had the DJ play that at our wedding. Symbolic, in more ways than one…


Amanda McCabe
15 years ago

“The Female of the Species is More Deadly than the Male actually had a Rumba beat. We had the DJ play that at our wedding.”


Just a quick note to let everyone know it was LOTS of fun last night! There were many, many people there, some very talented and some just enthusiastic beginners like us, so I got over feeling nervous and just had fun. 🙂

Cara King
15 years ago

As Todd said, I like the rumba, but I also like the cha cha a lot. (Like stamping my feet!)


Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Todd wrote, “”The Female of the Species is More Deadly than the Male actually had a Rumba beat. We had the DJ play that at our wedding.”
Cara said, “As Todd said, I like the rumba, but I also like the cha cha a lot.”

Now, that’s got me thinking. Wonder which song did the trick for cha cha. “Women dancers lead.” “Men in tank tops rock.” “Six pack ‘o abs” ????

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

No, no, wait. I have it. Rather elementary, now that I think about it. “Theoretical physics is all relative.”

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