After 4 years of contemplating it, I finally went to a Stanford Ceili event. At first, I was busy finishing school. I don’t remember what the tuesday night conflict was, but there was one. Then I was working nights and weekends, and that wasn’t conducive to dancing, and most recently, I got a day job that I was working 12 hrs a day at. In other words, i had lots of excuses.

Eventually, two of my coworkers, one of whom was bitten by the dance bug only recently, and the other who swears by Argentine Tango, convinced me that we should try it. So, we left work at 7 pm last Tuesday (sacrilege as far as our company is concerned) and headed over to Stanford Campus for the Ceili all dance event.

One of my friends who has done Ceili and/or stepdancing for most of her life explained “the pitch” (by which we mean the recruiting tag-line that you use during activities fairs) for Stanford Ceili to me:

If you can walk, count to eight, and tell your left from your right, you can Ceili — and the last one we can work around.

Lucky for me, they can work around the last one. Ceili was a lot of fun, but made it very apparent that despite having danced for going on… seven years now… I still can’t tell my left from my right. Counting to eight is no problem. It used to be, but enough Lindy Hop finally taught me to count past four ;). As for walking. I’ve been passably faking that for over two decades.

I’ve done so much dancing in the form of of social ballroom dancing that I don’t need to think about feet and directions in terms of left and right for those dances. It’s just “which foot is free?” and “which direction can you go?” But for Ceili, it’ll be a very long time before that kind of instinct exists. With all the different patterns, I’m not sure I’ll ever develop it.

Aside from the challenges of lefts and rights, the choreographies were a little overwhelming by the end of the night. I was really glad that we happened to pick a night that didn’t have lessons. I think it would have been too much for me to also keep track of footwork while people dragged me through dances.

Despite this, I had a blast, and so did my coworkers. I at least will definitely be back.