Up until the past year or so, I haven’t traveled much, and I’ve only attended workshop weekends – those with both classes and social dancing opportunities. However, after KissME in Ann Arbor, which was my first dance-only Lindy Hop exchange, I have some thoughts about why these exchanges are just as valuable as workshop weekends, and why I enjoyed KissME so much.
Because I am a student and support myself on a relatively small income, I am always trying to consider which dance events will give me the most bang for my registration buck. As an uninitiated dancer looking to get into traveling, workshops always seemed the most attractive, with the opportunity to work with superstar instructors and learn lots of new things in intensive classes. But I learned something important at KissME – you can learn at exchanges too!
There was so much dance time at KissME (25+ hours of dancing by my estimation, counting late nights) that I had plenty of time to analyze what I liked in other people’s dancing, and to try and incorporate it myself. Because I’m a female lead, I will sometimes follow with leads who are more experienced than I am, and then copy what they do when I’m leading later on. I picked up a couple of new patterns and tricks that way at KissME, and it was a lot of fun to practice them on the floor and tweak them until they worked (and have a good chuckle with my partner when they didn’t).
Because I wasn’t busy with classes all day, I also had the opportunity to spend time with the awesome people I was housing with, explore downtown Ann Arbor, bake some delicious scones, and take naps to recover in between dances. It felt much more relaxed than the hectic workshop weekends I’ve been to, and I look forward to registering for some more dance exchanges in the future!
Photo credit to Ralf Brown Photography.