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It’s funny – I can remember the first time I got a blister from dancing.  I can also remember the first time I got dumped on my butt (his jerky lead + my balance issues + trying to Lindy to a song that was much too fast for us = disaster), and the first time I realized that the strap of my favorite pair of Bleyer’s was shredded from dancing so much.  Each time if felt like a sort of rite of passage, a hurdle cleared, one more punch in my Official Swing Dancer card proving that I was the real deal, a genuine Lindy Hopper, not some poser who only knows two turns in East Coast and how to jump over her boyfriend’s back.

Yeah, I’m a little bit of a snob.  Sigh.

This weekend I was at the Smorgasbord of Swing, the regular event they throw down in Cincinnati on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I’ve been going every year since I started dancing.  It’s always a really good time, and this year was no exception. The problem is, well, my right shoulder hurt the next morning. A lot. It’s the muscle of the biceps, and also something in the joint itself that twinges when I hit certain positions, or turn the key in my car ignition. It’s pretty painful. Johnsy, no stranger to shoulder injuries, has diagnosed something to do with the rotator cuff, and prescribed ice and ibuprofen.

Now, I’ve danced with rough leads before, guys who left me feeling like I’d been doing push-ups. There’s also been a very few times when Something Unfortunate happened, usually because I wasn’t where I should have been, or didn’t keep my frame. Still, this is the first time it’s been anything like this bad, also the first time that I can’t pinpoint when it happened or who did it to me.  It’s true that along with the lovely dances I had on Saturday there were some not so nice ones with newer guys, and some guys who have been around long enough that they should know better (this includes anyone who’s been dancing over a year and still Lindy’s like he’s clogging). I don’t know a lot of the guys in Cincinnati, so I didn’t always realize that I should have begged off until I was already in the middle of the song. I was aware of sometimes having to be very careful with my frame, and that my arms had gotten tired by the end of the night. I didn’t realize how much I was hurt until I woke up Sunday morning and didn’t want to move my arm.

So… who was it? The experienced dancer from DC who liked to lead lots of reverse spins using the upper arms? The jerky clogger-Lindy boy? The guy from the scene with lots of turnover who mostly dances with new girls, and leads like it? The brand-new guy who’s so tense in his upper body it’s a little like dancing with a robot (all hard metal and no give)? Or maybe all of them combined. Sigh. I’ll know better next time. Meanwhile, last night I fell asleep with an ice pack on my shoulder, and today I’m hitting the pain killers.  I’ll chalk one up to experience and the risks you take when you’re a real swing dancer.

In other news, Johnsy and I went to see Mama Mia at the Schuster last night, compliments of Mariah and her work which gave out free tickets.  It was pretty cool.  Any show which includes both padded codpieces and young men doing tap dancing steps in scuba flippers is pretty wonderful in my book.  The rest of the show was very nice, but not as utterly delightful.  It seems a lot like a fairy tale for baby boomers who don’t understand why the younger generation doesn’t want to be just like them.  Still, there are many worse ways to spend a rainy Sunday evening.