Rachel in Taos

Rachel is spending the June 2009 term in SMU-in-Taos, where the photography courses she is taking will complement her journalism degree.

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Dancing with Donna

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Learning the art of dancing is not simply a hobby. Dancing over the past few centuries has been a form of expression as well as a main way to become social and acquainted with people of the opposite sex. It’s how young singles got to know each other more intimately. I’m reminded of what Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice said to Elizabeth Bennett, “What do you recommend to encourage affection?” To which she replies coolly, “Dancing; even if one’s partner is barely tolerable.”

Wednesday, June 24

It has been another full day as we all wind down to the few final days. As I munch down on my turkey sourdough sandwich, I think of all the events ahead. I am so excited about going to The Mill for live music and some awesome dancing! But I am getting ahead of myself. Practice makes perfect in every situation. Tonight, a wonderful lady and delightful dancer, Donna, is offering free dance lessons in the auditorium from 7-9 p.m.! Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about not having a partner. My friend, Ryan, agrees to dance with me.

I shower and freshen up. Now I’m off to the dining hall for a quick bite to eat with my R.A. Rachel. She and Ben (another R.A.) get cups and drinks together for the dance lesson. I find that I am so excited that I can barely scarf down what little food I do have in front of me. I am so giddy to dance!

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There are a little over a dozen people who show up, and everyone ends up being evenly paired! Perfectly splendid! The pouring rain adds melody and complements the setting. Donna is going to teach us not only some two-stepping but the waltz. I never have learned the waltz so I am super excited!

Donna has us all do the basic waltzing steps around the edges of the room without a partner. I feel as if I am a part of some huge musical on Broadway as all of us move in sync around the room in several lines; that, or our own version of “Thriller.”

Before we pair up, she has us, the girls, and the guys form lines facing each other. The guys approach us as we keep the rhythm with our feet. Our (the girls only) arms are outstretched, and we are to push against the guys’ chests, feeling their frame.

We pair up, listen and learn as Donna teaches us different dance moves to both the waltz and the two-step. Fun times! I laugh as my partner and I fumble to work on framing and timing.

At the end of the night we all look pretty good. Ben, Christy, Ryan, I and some others are planning on going to the Sagebrush Inn to practice our two-stepping before The Mill on Saturday.

Jon McLaughlin’s song runs through my head, “No more sorrow. We might not be here tomorrow. So just live for the moment and dance your life away!”

Peace out, friends!

I hope you continue to enjoy and follow my adventures as I take you through bustling London, fashionable Paris, historic Rome and romantic Scotland!

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