Not too long ago I received The Double Daring Book For Girls by Miriam Peskowitz and Andrea J. Buchanan. I was so excited to finally get a chance to read one of these books because for a couple years now I’ve heard about them and seen them in all the book stores. I’ve wanted to buy the book, but it seemed like it was meant more for younger kids. Which, technically it is….but I’m essentially a big kid and I love this sort of stuff. Clearly when this book arrived, it did not disappoint me.
Miriam and Andrea has filled it with tons of cool activities, stories and history ranging from optical illusions to stories by Harriet Tubman from the underground railroad to explaining how to tie a sarong to how to go to the bathroom in the woods. Because seriously, people…EVERY woman should know how to pee in nature without tinkling all over her clothes. It explains activities and the history of cultures in a clear and concise way…and let’s face it, most of this stuff I should know already…but I don’t. I couldn’t tie a sarong the correct way around my waist if my bare butt depended on it. And peeing in the woods? Please…I’ve lost many a good pair of shoes in the attempt to pee without a potty.
That being said, I immediately started flipping through the book when it arrived, deciding what it was I wanted to try first. Candle-making? Nah, not enough leftover wax laying around. Surfing? Already learned how to do that (the hard way—by face diving into rocks and shells) back in college. Make myself a dream-catcher? Not so sure Sean would want a homemade dream catcher hanging within the bedroom. And then I found it…a description of how to waltz and the history behind it. I’ve been on this big kick watching Dancing With The Stars (Gilles TOTALLY should have won!) and perhaps it was time that I, myself, learned the dances that I judged so harshly every week on ABC. I yelled loudly for Sean, who was working in the other room, to come quickly.
He came running in with his inking pen still in hand. “What?” He looked worried…oops.
“Um, I need your help writing this article.”
“If you don’t mind.” I smiled sweetly. He sighed dramatically and went to wash the ink off his hands.
By the time he returned I had already found a good song on iTunes….I have no idea the name or composer, but it was a classical song. I had the book propped open on the floor in the middle of the room by my feet. It took a few seconds before he realized what he needed to do and before he could turn and run the other direction, I grabbed his arm pulling him into me.
I thought that getting into position would be the easy part, but surprisingly it’s more complicated than holding hands and waists while facing each other. As the woman, my left hand lies on his shoulder and my arm is supposed to rest on his arm…only Sean is a LOT taller than me. This was way more difficult than I thought it would be. And of course my other hand was in Sean’s. But that’s not all—in the waltz, you don’t actually FACE each other. The position is more of a “V” shape and you step in between each other’s legs…which makes perfect sense and is therefore easier not to step on each other’s toes.
So next, we focused on the steps. For me (the follower), I begin with my right foot backward, left foot to the side and right foot together. Then left foot forward, right foot to the side and left foot together. You think that’s all, don’t you? Not so much.
“This is easy enough,” Sean looked up from his feet and smiled at me.
“But we’re supposed to be alternating when we’re on our heels and when we’re on our toes.”
“I don’t even know what that means.”
“It means we’re supposed to look like this,” and I started rising up and down like some sort of weird pop-up toy.
Sean looked at me curiously. “We’re supposed to look like THAT while dancing.”
“Well, not this EXACTLY. But that’s the gist, yeah.”
He didn’t say anything but just stared at me.
“Ok, FINE,” I continued, “Let’s learn how to turn.”
This also proved to be more difficult than we anticipated and resulted in tripping a few times. We never quite got the rising and falling part of the waltz, but we did learn the steps and we even managed a few turns.
The awesome thing about this dance is that once you learn the basic steps, it’s fun and easy and you can talk and laugh while doing it…not like tango when Sean and I took those lessons. It was so hard that if I was doing anything other than thinking about the steps, I’d fall. And the great thing about this book is that it describes the history of what it’s teaching as well in a fun, light and informative tone.
Amazingly, we made it through 2/3 of the song before we made a mistake or stumbled…which for the first time waltzing…I’d say that’s pretty good! Does anyone else out there know how to waltz? Care to learn? I challenge you to make it through a whole song without a stumble! Seriously….leave me a comment, tell me how it goes.