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What's Up Magazine

Forget Dinner and a Movie…

Feb 10, 2011 08:42PM ● By Anonymous

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it is only natural to have dating and relationships on the brain. Whether you’re in a committed long-term relationship, or are simply enjoying the thrill of dating, feeling pressure to think of spectacular and original evenings is common. Whatever your dating situation may be, a creative night out is often expected. Dancing has historically been a very popular date form, but with the dramatic rise in other forms of media in the past few decades, it has since lost some of its former popularity. However, there are a number of local dancing groups that still hold open dances, encouraging anyone to attend. Many such events feature steps and styles not well known to most, making it a fun and interesting learning experience as well. Furthermore, many dance organizations hold beginner lessons before the event even begins, making it much less intimidating if you happen to be inexperienced. 

One of these organizations is the Annapolis Traditional Dance Society. They specialize in hosting public contra dance events, which take place the first Saturday of every month. Contra dance is partnered folk dancing in which couples dance in two facing lines of indefinite length (think Rhett and Scarlet). For a small entry fee, you and your significant other can attend the three-hour contra dance event, as well as a free half-hour beginner workshop immediately preceding the dance itself. In this workshop you will learn all of the easy-to-follow basic steps, as well as get comfortable with the style. As a very social dance, it requires switching partners often, which also makes it an ideal place to meet people and mingle. Perfect for those who are somewhat hesitant about public dances or are interested in historical dance, a typical event attracts people of all ages, so do not be concerned with age; everyone is there simply because they love to dance. Indeed, DeLaura Padovan, the caller and instructor for the beginner workshop, states it perfectly when she says, “The only way you can do this wrong is if you’re not smiling.”

For couples or singles looking for a more adventurous dancing event, an evening filled with tango milonga will fit the bill nicely. Tango milonga, an Argentinean variation, is, first and foremost, a very intimate dance. According to Andrea Muralize, a local enthusiast, a lot of relationships start on the dance floor during events because of the lack of formalized steps. This means that the couple must become attuned to one another’s movements in order to achieve synchronization and dance it properly.  Achieving a connection between minds and bodies is what truly makes tango milonga a personal and sensual experience for a couple. Indeed, it is only natural that the bond between two people becomes closer while attending an event. While it may take attending a few events for beginners to truly get the hang of it, many organizations sponsor lessons. This makes for a fun and memorable evening, filled with dancing and great music.

Luckily for us we have a wide variety of organizations and events to attend.  Other groups are the Davidsonville Dance Club, including tango and other Latin dances as well as cha-cha-cha, rumba, foxtrot, and waltzes, Blob’s Park centered on polka and swing and Naptown Swing, which makes a specialty of jitterbug. For further information on dance events, please view our sidebar. For those who are experiencing the February blues due to being single close to Valentine’s Day, the Love Again Singles dance may be just what you have been searching for. LA Singles, originally established to offer a friendly atmosphere for singles over 30 to meet and dance, hosts Friday night dances consisting of DJs and live music, as well as a cash bar. 

While a dancing date may take a bit more effort than the ever-popular “dinner and a movie,” February is the perfect month to branch out and see if it’s right for you. You and your significant other might very well end up finding your new favorite hobby. Or if you’re single, who knows, you might even meet the partner of your dreams.



Dancing Venues

The Annapolis Traditional Dance Society. A great way to learn an historical dance style in a casual environment. At the Annapolis Friends Meeting House, Annapolis. Every third Saturday of the month from 7–10 p.m. $10. 410-268-0231.

Love Again Singles. Meet and dance with other singles in a friendly and stress-free environment. At the Knights of Columbus, Bowie. Fridays from 8 p.m.–12:30 a.m. $15. 410-721-6666 or 410-969-6392.

Davidsonville Dance Club. Learn various social ballroom dances through a variety of classes and events. At Ford Hall, Davidsonville Family Recreation Center, Davidsonville. Saturdays from 8–11 p.m. $8. 301-805-0771.

Blob’s Park. Butch & Mary Kotowski, the nations number one polka professionals will be offering instructional seminars one hour before the dance events. At Blob’s Park, Jessup. Sundays from 3–4 p.m. with the dance following from 4–8 p.m. Price is TBD. 410-799-7130.

Naptown Swing. For those who love swing or want to learn how, instructional session available in the half-hour preceding the dance. At the Eastport Democratic Club, Annapolis. Every Friday from 8–10:30 p.m. $5 or free with a valid student ID. 703-359-9882.

DC Hand Dance Club. Come out and learn to DC Hand Dance, a regional version of swing/jitterbug which originated in the metropolitan area. Find the location nearest to you. At Coco Cobana Grill, Hyattsville. Sundays from 5–10 p.m. Tuesdays from 7:30–10:30 p.m. At Mangos, Rose Haven. Tuesdays at 7 p.m. At Coconut Joe’s, Edgewater. Wednesdays at 7 p.m. At Scott’s Bar II, Welcome. Thursdays from 7–10 p.m. At Szechaun Inn, Severna Park. Most Fridays from 7–11 p.m. Call 410-544-0227 to confirm. Price varies by location. 301-460-0800.

Tango Milonga. For tango events in the Washington D.C. and greater metropolitan area, visit