Tuesday 2 October 2012

Put A Soc In It!: Lindy Hopping

It's the start of a new academic year, and I'll be writing a weekly blog for Varsity about my various undertakings with different societies in Cambridge. Here's the first instalment (or you can view it online):

New year, new start. Beginning term at Cambridge brings with it a fresh set of resolutions: no more late night takeaway binges, changing the sheets at least every other week, finding a new hobby. Off we trot to the Freshers’ Fair, where we are lured by the enticing array of free chocolates and the endearing eagerness of society representatives, only to return to an inbox filled with details of the next yacht expedition, cheese tasting, or Warhammer tournament.
As an arts student, my technical ineptitude has meant that for the first two years of my degree I still haven’t figured out how to unsubscribe from such emails. Each term, the regular stream of updates from the multitude of societies our University has to offer only served to continually remind me of my inadequacy. So this year, I have resolved to make a real effort and have a go at some of the more under-the-radar activities offered by societies at Cambridge. Provided I don’t unearth hidden talents for which the pursuit allows little time for anything but practice, I’ve agreed to write a blog of my various experiences for Varsity. Who knows, in a few weeks’ time you might well be reading the words of a burgeoning champion pole-vaulter.

My mission began with an evening spent in the company of Cambridge’s Lindy Hoppers, involving an hour-long class followed by an evening of ‘social dancing’, accompanied by a live band. Fortunately the class caters to beginners’ needs, and the emphasis tended more towards having fun than perfecting the steps (or so one of my partners told me, perhaps to make me feel better about my rather haphazard footwork). Fortunately we changed partners regularly, so I didn’t have to feel too bad about my lack of co-ordination impeding the more ambitious dancers in the bunch. It did make for somewhat clammy hand-holds though, which I could have done without when it was my turn to dance with a very cute guy with flippy hair…
Admittedly, I didn’t exactly pick up the moves at lightning speed. In fact, I trod on the aforementioned guy’s toes a number of times, although on the rare occasion that I looked up from my somewhat unsteady feet he seemed to be smiling – and I’d like to think it wasn’t just a sympathetic gesture. In fact, while my technical dancing ability might have been a little lacking, I feel I certainly excelled at the ‘social dancing’ aspect of the evening. The class took place at a pub, and after a couple of pints to calm the nerves I was throwing some absolute killer moves. Flippy hair hottie even asked if I would be coming back next week, so I must have made some sort of impression.
If I were to dismiss the attraction of my fellow Hoppers, however, I’ll confess that I doubt a career in Lindy Hopping is my calling – somehow my knees don’t quite have the buoyancy required for all the bouncing, and my feet just don’t do what I want them to. But I had a good laugh, met some fun people, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a bit of a boogie in a non-judgmental, friendly atmosphere. What with the partner changes, live band, and dance moves, it could be an interesting alternative to your standard swap night out. One thing’s for sure: despite all the dance steps, it was a lot less sweaty than most nightclubs in Cambridge.

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