Technology Dance — Session 7 — Slow Dancing Swaying to the Music




Taking some time to process things this summer, has allowed me to think about the upcoming year in some new ways, so I decided to add another session to the stories and technology information on this blog. I will probably add more as time goes on, but this will probably be the last before the start of the 2010-2011 school year. As with my earlier sessions, I will start with a story from my personal dance experience.

The year was 1965-66, my senior year in High School. For much of the first half of the year I was immersed in the college admissions process. I took my SAT’s a second time, and filled out new applications to some colleges I hadn’t considered previously. I was also very busy with my Advanced Placement History classes, and trying to fit in a bunch of electives like Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Sociology, just to add to the profile of Social Science classes that I was targeting in college. I was attending the Saturday evening dances at the YMCA and this was the year I joined the Computer Club so I could learn how to program the computer and get a date with a cheerleader I had known since Junior High School. All that aside, this was also the year, that I really discovered the art of slow dancing. My favorite dance partner at the Y was another young woman named Nancy who I had met while working at my summer job at the Lehigh Valley Crippled Children’s Society Day Camp. She had a wonderful personality and was just a whole bunch of fun to be with both on and off the dance floor. You might ask why wasn’t I just working on getting a date with her. Actually she was dating a good friend of mine who I had played baseball with for quite a few seasons. Unfortunately for her, Dennis hated dancing, and often chose to get drunk with his friends on a Saturday night instead of spending it with Nancy. You might think that would encourage her to cheat on him or dump him, but they had known each other since elementary school, and four years later they would be married, so there was a serious commitment there. Nancy was just my dancing partner, but she could really slow dance. Slow dancing in those days, really wasn’t dancing the way I had learned it for the ballroom. It was just a kind of slow swaying to the music while holding your partner close. No real technique, just try to avoid stepping on your partner’s toes, and try to avoid colliding with other couples on the dance floor.

There were some great slow dance songs that year: The Platter’s “With this ring”, Percy Sledge “When a Man Loves a woman”, The Association’s “Cherish”, The Righteous Brother’s “Soul and Inspiration”, Mama’s and Papa’s “California Dreamin”, Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny”, and the Hollie’s “Bus Stop”; just to name a few. While Freaky Freddy Milander was still the “DJ” for the Y dances he had started to include more slow dances in the mix. Maybe it was the fact that we were in the Mid-60’s and this was the Season of “Flower Power” and “Free Love”, or maybe it was just that more artists were recording this type of music, I’m not sure, but whatever it was, we had gotten well past the two or three slow dances at the Junior High dances and were now seeing an average of 8 to 10 slow dances in an evening. On a few occasions, I think he actually played a slow dance one out of every four records during the evening. No one seemed to mind, and seniors like myself seemed especially pleased with the opportunities to hold a girl close.

Like I said before Nancy was just my dance partner, but even so, she made slow dancing feel very special. What I mean was that despite the fact that there was no emotional attachment or physical attachment between the two of us, there was a rhythm between us that made slow dancing a very enjoyable experience for both of us. Most of the time we spent the slow dance time, talking, laughing about our camp experiences, or talking about our plans for college. I’m sure the couples on the dance floor around us, must have thought we were crazy because we weren’t swooning over each other like so many of them were. Like the others, we danced often looking deep into each other’s eyes, but unlike their passionate and sometimes lustful glances, it was simply a way for us to let the other know we were really paying attention and interested in what the other person was saying.

Once in a while Dennis would pop in and decide he wanted Nancy to go home with him so my evenings would end early. Sometimes I’d stick around and look for another dance partner, but sometimes I’d just head home early, and shoot hoops on the lighted basketball court my dad had built in our backyard.

My slow dance experiences in High School ended in late April of 1966. I had been accepted to three different colleges, but I still had to visit two of the out of state colleges before deciding which I would spend the next four years at, and I had my advanced placement tests to take for college credit, so I had to give up my Saturdays for other activities. I had hoped to go to the prom that year, but like my Junior High prom, I was unable to find a date. I had asked more than 15 girls, actually starting that activity in the fall of my senior year, but none of the girls I asked were interested in going with me to the prom, so by mid-April I had given up on that and decided that after I finished my finals but before graduation I just take off for North Carolina to do some fishing. My parents summer home was in North Carolina and I had been going there ever since I was 11 for our summer vacations. Instead of being at my prom, which was held between finals and graduation, I was sitting in a boat under a beautiful starlit and moonlit sky on Currituck Sound opposite the outer banks of North Carolina hoping to land a really good size largemouth bass.

Slow Dance Technology Lessons

  1. From what I’ve said in previous stories passion is a key element in learning to use technology, but sometimes we need to find a partner who we just feel comfortable with. No real passionate relationship, just one that enables us to enjoy the moment. So when you are looking for others to support your technology integration process in the classroom, you don’t always need to look for someone who is really passionate about it, just find someone who is comfortable with the dance and is willing to let you know that they are interested and paying attention to your efforts in using technology in the classroom.
  2. Sometimes doing a “slow dance” , taking the rhythm and pace of things down a notch or two, is important because it allows us to feel more in control of the dance and closer to those who we are working with; not only our professional colleagues but also the children we are trying to teach using this technology.
  3. Sometimes our technology efforts end abruptly when others come to us with requirements to complete other tasks. We can try and pick up on what we were doing later, or we can simply move on to something else.
  4. Sometimes no matter how hard our efforts are to achieve our goals, things just don’t work out and we are left fishing instead of dancing at the prom. When our goals seem to be thwarted go on to some other activity. Fishing for me was always both an exciting and relaxing activity at the same time. Maybe you have a hobby or something you enjoy doing that helps you relax but invigorates you at the same time. Focus on that for a while and then come back to the Technology Dance later when you feel refreshed. I didn’t stop dancing just because I didn’t go to the prom, but for that time, I was comfortable fishing and came back to dancing and have continued dancing throughout my life.

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