Clad in their light gray camper shirts, the girls of 5G lined up on one side of the dance room. Dance instructors Brent and Michelle Nagtegaal welcomed them and their brother dorm to the class and explained the order of events for their last dance class of pyc.
“First, we’re going to go over the progressive again,” he said, referring to the progressive cha-cha that the whole pyc had attempted the week before. The instructors hoped that teaching the progressive again during the campers’ second dance class would make it flow more smoothly at the next pyc dance.
“We’re going to run through it slowly,” Mr. Nagtegaal said. He proceeded to review the cha-cha progressive step-by-step with the campers. About half of the couples got it, so he moved some of the more proficient partners around so they could help the campers who were having trouble.
After several run-throughs of the basic steps, the campers practiced the progressive to a Michael Bublé song. The sound of shuffling feet mingled with the laughter of the happy campers and the directions from Mr. Nagtegaal as he gave some more one-on-one instruction.
“I’ll give that a C-, guys,” he said. “Let’s try the song one more time and see how you do.”
On their second try, the girls of 5G and their brother dorm finally danced the progressive cha-cha correctly. The room filled with an orderly array of stepping, turning, and spinning couples as the dorms ran through the steps.
After the progressive cha-cha, Mr. Nagtegaal taught the campers how to waltz. 5B and 5G went back to their respective sides of the room and practiced the basic waltz step over and over until everyone got it right. “Now, ask a lady to dance,” said Mr. Nagtegaal, and the men of 5B found new partners to practice the waltz steps with.
Mr. Nagtagaal explained to the attentive campers how the male leads and how the female follows in the waltz. “Ladies, don’t preempt him,” the instructor said. “He might decide that he wants to do a forward step and then another forward step, so you have to not decide what he is going to do. At the same time, make him pull you back toward him when he wants you to step forward. Let him lead.” Then he and his wife instructed them in the basic six-beat waltz turn. Campers Marianna and Isaiah performed a lovely waltz step set—complete with several turns—as did Zechariah and Cathryn.
The Nagtegaals continued instructing the couples in the waltz, teaching them the basic six-beat waltz turn. Then Mrs. Nagtegaal put on a slow waltz song, and the couples practiced the graceful dance to music. 5G’s Marianna and 5B’s Isaiah performed a lovely waltz step set—complete with several turns—as did Zechariah and Cathryn.
5G and 5B had learned the basic swing steps and a few basic moves in their previous class, but in this dance class, they learned how to do some of the more complicated ones. At this point, I got to join in, and I danced with Zac Bush, assistant counselor of 5B. We all learned how to do the inside turn, the underarm turn, the love heart, the arm slide, the cuddle, the lean and the decapitator. (Don’t be alarmed by the last one; all heads remained firmly in place.)
Then Mr. Nagtegaal played a couple of swing songs, and the campers practiced their new swing moves. The girls of 5G had enormous smiles on their faces, and they looked like they were having a wonderful time.
At the end of the last song, the gentlemen escorted the ladies back to their side of the room and thanked them for the dance.
“Did you guys have fun?” asked Mr. Nagtegaal, and he was answered with a resounding and enthusiastic “Yes sir!”
Then, the brother and sister dorms gathered into separate groups to come up with a cheer. “Thanks for the dance, brother dorm and dance staff!” the girls of 5G said in a chorus.
5B responded with, “We had a swing-tastic good time, sister dorm and dance staff!”
Then 5G headed into the hallway to remove their boogie shoes and put on more appropriate footwear for their next class of the day: soccer.