One of my every-year resolutions is to get out of my comfort zone. I can’t let myself get too settled into a routine, or I will never try anything new. So last week, when I saw the signs advertising contra dancing, I thought that sounded like a great adventure. Except none of the people I asked were planning on going. Just as it looked like my plans were ruined, a friend asked if I would like to go with her and her friends. Although I hadn’t really met her friends before, I decided to give it a try anyway. It turned out to be a good time. Contra dance, according to Wikipedia, is a patterned folk dance style with two lines of couples. These couples form squares or “hands four” and progress up or down the line. The dances are “called”, meaning a “caller” stands at the front of the room and announces the steps in time to the music. Before each dance the caller would go through and explain each step. This was a relief to everyone who had never tried contra dancing before, like myself. When I asked others what Contra dancing was going to be like, the standard response was “like square dancing, but more fun”. I found this to generally be true (no offense to square dancing). Many of the calls were the same as square dancing, which helped me not feel so lost. To describe what it looked like, however, I would reference movies like Pride and Prejudice, when they have the country-dances. This made more sense after I did a little research. Turns out contra dances developed directly from English country-dances that came to the United States with the English settlers. How cool is that? Mostly what contra was was a lot of fun. It was a very low-stress dance environment, and everyone was just there to let loose and enjoy themselves. I was so glad that I didn’t let fear keep me at home. Normally not knowing exactly what I am going to do or whom I am going with would make me really uncomfortable, but I ended up having a great time and making some new friends. Next week there is another dance being held in the area, and I am going to try to go.
When was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone? What was it?