Before I begin, I must confess that dance was probably always in my top three favorite activities for camp, so going to one of the dance classes with my nieces and nephews this year greatly pleased me.
For those of you who don’t know what I mean by nieces and nephews, I will briefly explain. Every dorm has their counselor and assistant counselor, their “parents” during camp. The rest of the pyc staff—instructors, kitchen workers, custodians, landscapers, and the random red shirts like me—are assigned to a dorm to be the aunt or uncle. Some of the time, actual relatives of the campers are assigned as aunts or uncles to those dorms. For instance, my sister Selah is in my niece dorm; my fellow honorary aunt, Tessa Gregory, has a sister in 3G as well, named Talea. Long story short, my sister is my niece, my brother Levi isn’t related to me at all, and I’m my own grandpa.
The girls of 3G, who go by the name “Ruth’s Royal Rubies” despite their green shirts, had just come from cycling and were excited to have an indoor class. Jessica Brandon—the counselor of 3G—and I had a laugh about the antics that the cycling instructors had gotten up to with the water balloons at the end of their class. Several of the girls were slightly damp, but it helped with the heat outside.
Shane Granger and Sarah Evans are the dance instructors this year, although at the last few classes they have had, Justice Brown has also been instructing because Mr. Granger hurt his ankle. The brother and sister dorms lined up in the dance room at the Dwight Armstrong Performing Arts Conservatory. Most of us just refer to it as dapac (pronounced “day pack”) for short.
Mr. Granger started the class off by explaining what would be covered in one-hour-fifteen-minute class. He also asked the young men to be polite gentlemen when asking the young ladies to dance. Mrs. Evans adjured everyone to remember their posture, and Mr. Brown commented that dancing is one of the best ways to practice being men and women.
The first half of the class focused on the cha cha. Once I had felt sufficiently reminded of how the steps went, I shuffled around the room to see how everyone was doing. I briefly conversed with fourteen-year-old Azariah and her partner. They were having fun and doing well despite the brace on his ankle.
I visited my sister next, but mostly because I was impressed with her dance partner Daniel. His parents were the dance instructors at pyc Edstone last year, and I thought that explained a lot. After a couple of songs, everyone switched partners. It was endearing to see everyone learning the steps and transferring it to a new song. For a moment, it seemed that all of them were looking down at their feet and smiling as they memorized the pattern. I took note of Summer’s infectious, wide grin. By the end of the song, no one needed to look at their feet anymore, and their progress was encouraging.
Then the second half of the class began, and they started to learn a pyc favorite: swing. You can move fast depending on the beat, and there are a ton of moves you can do to switch it up. It’s not the best for a conversation, but it definitely produces a lot of laughs and fun memories.
Seventeen-year-old Vienna and her partner were daring enough to ask how to learn the flip. They’ve both been to camps before and were comfortable with the more basic moves and wanted to learn something new. Mr. Brown helped them off to the side and explained how to keep the beat while they did it.
At the end of the class, the dorms circled up to decide how to thank the instructors for the class. “Thank you for swinging us into lunch, dance staff!” There were also scattered calls for Mr. Brown and Miss Harms since we were there but aren’t technically part of the dance staff. This received several giggles from the girls before they lined up in their usual order and headed off to lunch as they discussed the awesomeness of their brother dorm and how fun dancing is.