Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Sat 25th Mar, 2006

It's harder than it looks. And it doesn't look easy.

As part of my "get out of the house and stop wasting time on the computer" plan, Kate and I went to a 'day school' for Scottish Country Dancing. This isn't quite the "great one-legged leaps" with arms above the head that is Highland dancing, but it is no less of a work- out. It's all about precision - lots of ballet terms like 'first position' and 'third position' float through the instructions, there's a comprehensive fifteen-minute warm-up and ten-minute warm-down bookending each class, and in workshops like this you're really expected to be going for precision rather than fun.

That said, I still think it's excellent. Partly because I learn how to actually dance SCD with style, rather than lolloping around like a sack of assorted limbs. Just keeping your head up and not looking at your feet can, somewhat paradoxically, make your steps better. And having to really think about putting your feet just so, and to do it again and again, and to be able to memorise the instructions of what to do next and join the two together, is difficult.

It's excellent for the age-group which was most represented at the workshop: the retirees. It does warm-ups and stretches, gets your mind and body working together, gets you meeting other people and having fun, and is a gentle yet persistent form of exercise that raises a sweat on me, half some of these peoples' age. If your parents are retired and are starting to get a bit dumpy, find a Scottish Country Dance class somewhere near you - there's one in Canberra every night of the week, for instance - and push them along. While you're there, have a go yourself. You'll enjoy it. And believe me: no one is uncoordinated enough to not be able to do it with a bit of practice.

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