What a great opening night for our Queer Country Social dance. We had roughly 20 people show up for the beginner lesson. Most were a meetup group event and a few from a south shore group.
It was amazing to see these people come out and do something they never done before. Most had not danced anything like social dancing since they were in grade school.
I was the basic two step teacher and I’m amazed they all picked up the basic two step pattern and go through a line dance lesson that was not easy. They rocked.
I’m sure they didn’t feel that way, I know I didn’t when I first came to a dance back in 2003. It took me many months to work up the nerve to step through that door. The only dance experience I had was on the club scene. I was looking for something a bit better than a bar to find someone. I didn’t expect to find a community. That first dance, Bucky came up to say hello and asked me to dance. How daunting! I sucked — toes were stepped on, I think I hit Ruth with my elbow, and my turns were all over the place (sorry Jim). There were so many people infinitely better than I was — I felt so clumsy and awkward. But Bucky reminded me that I never did this before and encouraged me to keep at it. I did. So much so that I’m president of the club and help DJ, teach, organize, and am part of the performance group. While I didn’t find a partner, I found a bunch of friends and my life is richer for it.
Social dancing is challenging but fun. A 2003 New England Medical Journal article “Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly“, showed that out of 18 activities, social dancing was significantly more effective at keeping your faculties as you grow older. I believe it’s the combination of being hyper aware of your surroundings while socializing and moving to the rythm of music.
You just don’t get that in a gym.
I love this group for their mix of ages, genders, and ability levels — the most refreshing is that we mix it up. We don’t care what role you dance, who you love, what color your skin. We just like to dance and hope you do too.
Gays for Patsy hosts three events:
weekly dances (Dirty Water Saloon) at Bella Luna Restaurant in JP on Tuesdays from 7-10 pm
monthly dances (Queer Country Social) at the church (3rd Saturdays from Sept-May and a Friday June 1 pride dance)
I also love going to Americana Sundays in Somerville on Sundays from 8-10 at Thunder Road on Somerville Ave. that features a live band lead by Greg Klyma – a queer friendly guy who took his date to one of our dances and loved it. Though not a queer venue, we end up taking over the dance floor more than not. It is a small venue and quite not intimidating at all.
I hope to find you on the dance floor. Ask me to dance.
I just read a Harvard Crimson article (linked below) on how joy adds to a healthy and happy life.
One thing that struck me was,
“Loneliness kills… It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”
Speaking for myself, you all bring joy into my life through dance. Ironically, I mentioned this on Saturday. I joined Gays for Patsy about 10 years ago at a low point — I just broke up and was looking for something to fill that hole in my heart. Okay, honestly, I came looking for a boyfriend. What I got was a community and a bunch of stellar friends.
This winter was rough, it seemed more so with the political climate and so much fear, anger, and agitation. The one thing that got me through was the dances.
Thank you for being my joy.
Thank you for being my friend
Thank you for stepping on my feet.
Get out and dance and smile and meet folks and all that stuff there.
In a recent New York Time’s article, “Walk, Stretch or Dance? Dancing May Be Best for the Brain”, a study found that out of a number of activities given to an aging group of test subjects, country western dancing significantly made a difference in keeping brain function. Granted this is a small study over a short period of time, but anyone who dances knows navigating the dance floor and learning line dances does keep us on our toes (literally and figuratively).
So get dancing
At Gays for Patsy we have offer the following opportunities (akas: dances) to fortify your brain (more info below or click on the links to go to our website):
All are great ways to get out, learn new things and exercise your brain.
Our dances are for everyone though we are mainly a queer organizaiton (LGBTQA+S = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Asexual, and Straight). All we ask is that you don’t care about gender norms and want to have fun.
No experience? We’ll learn ya No partner? We’ll find ya some.
Tuesdays • 7-10 pm
Bella Luna Restaurant and Milky Way Lounge • Jamaica Plain
This is a small venue that we have fun with experimenting with music, line dances, and more. It’s a fun dance that has a bar/restaurant so you can come order a drink or a pizza and enjoy the dance as you go along.
April 15 • 6:30-11 pm
1st UU Church of Jamaica Plain
The space is much bigger than Dirty Water Saloon and has a wonderful dance floor. This month we’re venturing into tango! Patrick and Beth will be teaching a basic tango lesson and Beth will teach a tango based line dance Burlesque, and our DJ Bob will play a mix of two step, west coast, east coast, line dances galore, tango, and a waltz or two.
April 28–30, 2017 — Our 25th year!
Sage Inn and Lounge and Provincetown Town Hall
There’s so much going on this weekend that a quick blurb can’t suffice. With 3½ dances, workshops, and lessons you’ll have a great time. We have Alan Gaskell and Simone teaching the partner dance workshops and offering private lessons! We’ll be teaching 6 line dances this weekend and adding a Sunday t-dance so you can get some dancing in before heading home. But don’t wait to buy your tickets, the “early bird” price will be going away soon and you’ll have to pay full price! There’s a list of discounted guest houses on the site (just mention Stomp).
The Renegaydes are our own performance dance group. You’ll see them at our Spring Stomp, our Pride dance, and the IAGLCWDC (International Association of Gay and Lesbian Country Dance Clubs) convention in Miami. Come check them out. They’re working on a fun routine choreographed by Bucky Chappell. It should be fun. The Renegaydes also has a facebook page at GFPRenegaydes.