Author: Rosie Arnold

Have faith in the unexpected.

Learning to Shake It

By Rosie

Hi there.  

When I first found out Erin was doing this blog, I thought, what a great idea! I should do something like that too! There are just so many things I’ve been meaning to do.  I finished grad school about a year and a half ago (egads, it really has been that long), and for a while after, I was just having a breather. But then I discovered something about myself- if left to my own devices for too long, I can be kind of lazy. And so, when Erin asked me to contribute to this project, it sounded like a great way to push myself a little harder and do some of those things I’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.


Me (on the right) with Erica, my awesome line dancing teacher.

First on my list of things to do: write more. Done and done. Second on the list: I’ve always wanted to learn to dance. Trouble is, I’ve never felt like I was very good at it (being 100% Caucasian and all that that implies).  I imagine myself gliding gracefully across the floor like a finalist pro on “Dancing with the Stars,” but I know that in reality I look a lot more like a week 1 B-lister.  Conveniently though, I have many friends who are excellent dancers, and I know I can trust them to teach me and not laugh at me, at least not to my face.

For my first dancing adventure, I decided to learn how to line dance. This choice is not obvious to most people who know me.  I am not particularly into country music, nor do I wear cowboy boots, hats, or belt buckles. (Although if that’s your thing, rock on.) But I wanted to learn because I have several friends who LOVE to go line dancing. I’ve been to line dancing bars with them a few times before, but I’ve never quite caught on. I imagined though, that with a little focused instruction, I could figure it out.  It seemed like the most important skills for it were being able to count and follow a pattern, and, despite lacking natural rhythm, I can do both of those things. So, I asked my friend Erica to teach me. Erica is a fantastic teacher and a really good friend, so I knew that even if I didn’t master a step, this would still be fun. I went over to her apartment one evening recently for my first lesson. My goal was only to master one dance and I’d call it a successful night. Before long though, we had worked our way through four whole dances- the Bombshell Stomp, the Canadian Stomp, Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy, and, the one with the best name, the Tush Push.


Concentrating on the “Tush Push.

 “I was a little amazed at how easy it was to fall into the patterns of the dances. At first I was super focused on the counts and trying to remember to turn to my right (no my other right). I had this awkward habit of wanting to start on the wrong foot, and that kept messing everything up. But it got better, and by the end of the evening it was coming pretty naturally, and I didn’t have to think quite so hard about it. I only need a semi-focus to stay with the music.  I started to feel like my legs knew what they were doing, and I even found myself enjoying the quaint corny-ness of the song lyrics. Luke Bryan’s song “(Country Girl) Shake it for Me,” became my anthem. I began thinking that maybe I should start looking for a pair of cowboy boots. But then I turned the wrong way again and bumped into Erica and decided I should probably hold off on that. 

It turns out line dancing was pretty fun once I got the hang of it. Now I am ready to try it in public. I’ll let you know how that works out.