the circular runner

The Three-Minute Romance…

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2008 at 8:48 am

Romantics dancing past cynicism...

dancing against cynicism...

I had heard that there were free swing dance lessons given in Golden Gate Park every Sunday, and being a lover of all things quirky, I thought it might be worth seeing just how many people showed up. I assumed I’d find a few couples, some guys in fedoras and black and white wing tips, maybe a few women in chiffon. But what I found instead was a group of probably three hundred dancers of all ages, races, and ethnicities.

This past weekend, San Francisco was host to something called a Dance Exchange—think dance convention. 2,000 swing dancers from all over the US converged on the city for three days and nights of swing-a-ling fun. In part, this explained the huge turn out this last Sunday, though I’m told that Lindy in the Park (www.lindyinthepark.com) usually pulls in about one hundred dancers every week.

Swing dancing is not hip, but I mean that as high praise. If you think about it, a lot of things that are considered hip, smart, and alternative usually include a good bit of sulking and swimming in black pools of angst. Hey, nothing wrong with that. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fellow swimmer. But after giving it some thought, maybe it’s not so bad to have some alternative cultural activities that stress uninhibited, non-drug induced glee. Maybe unhip happiness is the new alternative.

For me, I’m still deciding if I should go back. After asking people why they took the time out of their lives to learn what seems like a pretty technical dance, each person, in his or her own way, said the same thing: connection. “It’s a three-minute romance,” one of the dancers told me. And that’s the line that has stuck with me since.

If you can dig down under the piles of cynicism that the world heaps on you daily, you know what this woman is talking about and you get a much better feel for why all of these dancers were smiling. In cities, even friendly ones like San Francisco, the opportunity to find three-minute romances that stress the romance and not the quickness may not be a bad thing. “Connect,” the poet once said, “always connect.”

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