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Dancing at Sea: I felt the "earth" move under my feet

A lesson from Piero in Skywalker's Night ClubDancing at Sea: Dance and Workshops 
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Tuesday  was the only day when the ship did not  call in at a port and we were at sea all day,  sailing  to Astoria, in Oregon. According to the ship's log - "throughout the day the Sapphire Princess steamed various northerly courses paralleling the coast of  California on her starboard side at a distance of approximately 30 nautical miles."  The sea is described as being "moderate" versus "slight" out of Santa Barbara, and "calm" on most of the other days.

  What "moderate sea" translates to in practical terms is that the ship was noticeably rolling a lot more than on other days, and on the dance floor, a step could quite easily turn from a graceful sway into a Frankensteinian lurch. Wendy had arranged for dance workshops in the morning, so we assembled at 10 in the wheelhouse lounge for a rumba lesson from Piero followed by a lesson in cha cha from Brian. It was good to learn some new and different dance sequences. We rotated partners but since more of the ladies turned up (naturally)than the men at each change a couple of people were partnerless. The sequence Brian introduced included a double spin  which led to some interesting "new" moves when the ship rolled just as one was spinning. And one really needs a strong and steady lead for spinning, so it is hard to practice it on your own.

After-dinner dancing that evening was also quite eventful.  When one  Viennese waltz step on the Club Fusion floor threatened to turn into a cartwheel my current partner and I deemed it wiser to call a halt before the ship's motion halted us permanently. I really liked the Club Fusion venue for dancing as the floor was a nice size and good for the dances that really move around the floor. Although giving up on the Viennese Waltz I got in a couple of quicksteps and a samba or two, which are really not practical in a smaller space.

As part of the Dancers at Sea package each guest also got one private lesson with either Piero or Brian. That was really nice but unfortunately suitable space for teaching was not always available. I had a lesson with Piero in the Night Club area on deck 15 but the panelled glass floor was not really safe for ballroom dancing and we ended up using the carpeted area. We decided to concentrate on the dances I don't do back home, so we did a bit of American smooth waltz and foxtrot and then swing and hustle. Later I had a lesson with Brian where we got some time in Club Fusion and we focused on west coast swing. These dances really are so much easier to pick up than the international standard and Latin - but then I guess I am really only learning basic moves in these new dances as opposed to the much more complex silver and gold routines I am working on for the international dances.

Actually, simply dancing with a variety of partners, each with a different style of leading and a different mental basket of moves and step sequences, I think has gone a long way to improve my overall standard and ability. It is just so frustrating that good male dance partners are so hard to find. Chatting to the other women in the group from various cities in the US this seems to be a universal problem - there are so many more women who are keen to put in the time learning to dance well then there are men. And yet what excellent opportunities for travel there are for men who can dance well enough to be hosts. I heard all sorts of stories of travel to exotic parts of the world for minimal or no cost. And all you have to do is be nice and dance, dance , dance. Maybe it gets tiring but it sounds like a great life to me! Anyway for us gals who love music, love to dance - groups like Dancers at Sea will continue to flourish.