Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Lubisz tańczyć?

I've been in Poland for nearly eight months now and only twice have I been dancing*. Maybe if my dance activities increased then my coordination would improve and my propensity to fall over would fall in inverse proportion.
Since I come from the Home-Counties-dahling and Daddy worked in a bank, I spent a fair portion of my early years being ferried between dance classes and rehearsals and the dreaded RAD ballet exams. I still have nightmares about standing stiffly on the wooden floor of a village hall, wearing a pink lycra handkerchief and trying to suck in both stomach and bottom and not choke on the dust mites whilst willing my hair not to start pinging out kirby-grips like some deranged porcupine, to the accompaniment of the Loudest Clock in the World and the scratching of the examiner's pen. ('Seems worried... Not Enough Turnout... Looks out of window too much seriously impeding sense of direction...').
These days, the notion of Unstructured Dance for Fun makes me freeze in terror, instantly aware of every muscle and every potential fault.

So my first Kraków dance experience was somewhat accidental. We simply went to meet an old classmate for a beer after our Polish lesson. (So many ex-classmates. All these people who win Polish- the final boss is really tough to beat- and get the big rocket launch like at the end of Tetris. Or they simply cheat by marrying Polish women...). After about an hour, his wife showed up with a friend, ordered vodka and Red Bull all round (so now you know: V & RB, favourite tipple of lairy football fans in Wetherspoons and of sweet young Polish girls) and settled in for the night.
Incidentally, I'm in a slightly confusing limbo as to the purchasing of beverages in Poland. In the UK I'm used to rounds (unless there are more than six of you, in which case carnage is very likely) or simply buying a bottle- of wine- between two or three people. In Poland, you either sip on a pint of beer (take note ladies...) or you go through the whole vodka-shots-and-juice palaver, which is a story for another day I think. Guys always offer to buy drinks, which leaves me in the awkward position of whether to assert my feminist personality and square things up by standing them a pint or two, or just to let it go, take advantage, and possibly be secretly considered a sponger.
An hour or so and several units of alcohol later we were in a charming locale called Gorączka. This is Polish for 'fever', and we know all about this now since the language school, with impeccable timing, has decided to teach us about parts of the body and sickness. I can also tell you that I have toothache, earache and the shivers, and can I please have a doctor's note? (very, very important if you don't want to lose your holiday allowance).
Now, in Polish clubs, things work in pretty much the same way as in England. You dance around your friends, around your handbag, around the guy with the huge bongo drum who seems to have materialised in the middle of the dance floor, and you avoid Sleazy Men Who Want to Touch your Bum (especially if they tell you they have three months to live. No joke. My little sister had to rescue me). All very familiar and easy.

My second dancing experience here was at an Even More Grown-Up Party last weekend. It was similar to the wedding in that the food kept coming, with dancing in between. It was similar to the last party in that I was definitely the youngest and scruffiest person there.
- Lubisz tańczyć? said the wife of Car Guy's colleague (possibly to escape my attempts at Polish conversation), and led us to the dance floor.
With horror, I realised that people were dancing to Pop Music in couples...

- Do you know how to dance? I whispered to Car Guy
- Well, yes, I mean, I can

We took a few tentative steps

- You have to let me lead though...

It has since occurred to me that dancing may be the solution to the lack of daylight and outdoor activity. Since the snow started falling, I've been burning a ton of calories just trying to stay upright, but honestly I'm finding it hard to get out and get active and I'm tired of being stuck indoors in front of the computer. I need something to placate my twitchy feet.
There appears to be a dance school on ul. Josefa- not too far from where I live. I'll keep you posted...

*Not counting the wedding in September.

Pisarka tego bloga informuje drogich czytelników że imaginacyjna kanapa faceta-którego-nie-wie-gdzie-się-znajduje-samochód jest najwygodniejszą kanapą w Krakowie i ostatny post nie stanowił narzekania.


Justyna said...

It's shocking to realise that pretty much all Polish males know how to dance in couples. Who teaches them? Surely not PE classes. Keep at it and sign up for dancing classes. Michal dragged my arse to a dancing school that lasted some 3 months and it was heaps of fun. Now I can jive, samba, waltz and pretty much let the guy lead. You don't need to go with a partner because there are always more males than females at these things! Nice disclaimer by the way...

Becca said...

Oh yeah, do it! Marek signed us up for dancing classes last year and although I still hate letting him lead, it was loads of fun, and we now do a mean cha cha :)

Anonymous said...

Where I come from 'dancing' means leaping around in a random fashion in a darkened room while other people do roughly the same thing. Imagine my delight when I attended a Polish wedding and found that one was required to perform 'steps' and 'moves' with a partner in a brightly lit and politely whirling room. The horror… the horror…