Contra and Communism

Last night, I had the opportunity to experience something new.  Here in Spokane, apparently, a bunch of people gather weekly to contra dance. 

This is a subculture I was not aware of. Also, these people are serious. 

I really enjoyed the exercise and the sweat, but I think that I enjoyed the people watching the most. 

I know contra mostly through Jane Austen movies and one brief "Folk Dances of Other Cultures" class project. All of a sudden, I was standing in a line of couples with many people I had never seen before and my friend Jo, who had invited me. 

Like in square dancing, there is a caller, and if you mess up, at least in this group, they laugh and move on and push you in the right direction. 

I know this firsthand. 

The people were eclectic and as I got a better handle on the dances themselves, I started to look around and observe. There were lots of older couples who looked like regulars. One woman with a smile that made her look drunk. I guess she could have been. One girl showed up in a flowing dress like a scarf. Her name tag read: "Rabbits Foot."

Younger couples, one young man in a kilt. 

It was quite the experience. 

I was flying and sweating, but about halfway through the dance I noticed a newcomer (people came all through the two-hour time slot). He was clean-cut and obviously a good contra dancer. His spins sent his partners flying, which they seemed to love. 

I wanted to dance with him, and not just because he was good looking. 

I felt like I was in a Jane Austen novel as we "danced" toward each other. In contra, you pretty much get a chance to dance with everyone, so we crossed paths fairly quickly. He was one of the people who said "hello." There seem to be two kinds of contra dancers, those who greet people they don't know, and those who don't. 

After that, between dances, I attempted to look unengaged (more Jane) and he asked me to dance. 

It was beautiful. I have always wanted to have one of those conversations in a dance of that type. You know, the kind where you have to time everything perfectly? We had to make sure that our words would reach each other. It was fun. 

Later, after two dances, lots of spins etc. After he accused me of making up the fact that this was my first time, after swapping short life stories, he invited me to participate in a political organization that he was working for, trying to get something passed into law. He gave me a website. I forgot about it.

Jo and I and her friend Brian decided to get cold refreshment and invited this young man. We talked about life and personality types, we quoted movies and laughed. I even pitched my senior project idea to the whole table. They liked it and asked all the right sorts of questions which meant that the concept had been well-communicated. I'm getting better at communicating. 

I went home after a little more time with Jo and went to bed, exhausted from the most social contact I've had since I've been home. (Not that I'm complaining). 

Today, I looked up the website. After all, I am bored, perhaps it is something that I might want to become involved in. 

I read the manifesto. Yes, I use that word intentionally. 

It seems that I had been dancing with a communist. Good leader though. 

Little did she know...