In the dark, with temperatures in the low 20s, my husband and I run as fast as we could in our dress shoes under the wings of a B-52. Like butterflies fluttering on flowers in the summer, we gather with other couples in Fedoras, fur coats, heels, slacks with suspenders, and dresses with crinoline at the entrance of a large WWII hangar. Inside we’re welcomed to couples spinning around each other, girls lifted into the air, and the soul strumming rhythm of the 1940’s recreation Big Band, The Hot Tomatoes. Couples stand towards the sides, catching their breath, sipping cocktails under vintage aircrafts. My husband and I are at the 1940s Christmas Ball at the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum just East of Denver.
It’s the second time since we were married 12 years prior that we’ve been out dancing. Having twins when we already had a toddler meant that there were at least five years where an ideal date was sitting, actually tasting the food we ate, and maybe going to a movie or musical, but mostly going home after dinner to sleep. The early years of elementary school for our daughter brought us a little more time to get other things done besides childcare, which in turn gave us a little more time to enjoy a TV show at night together. Once the twins were in school all day, my husband and I stole dates during lunch. But yet, there’s nothing quite like going to a dance with your spouse.
Dancing isn’t one dimensional, like watching a movie, a play or a TV show. You don’t sit next to the person you’re with and watch something else. You face your partner when you’re dancing, reading the subtle non-verbal communication through the tilt of a wrist and the tension in the arms. You each steer your partner away from other dancing and spinning couples, while attempting new tricks you saw someone do on the other side of the floor. It’s a totally different way to interact with someone, and a way that can be over looked as we go through our busy lives.
Fortunately, many groups like the 1940’s Ball are springing up all over the nation. 1940’s Ball holds a Christmas Ball in December and a Summer Ball in June. The next Ball will be June 15th at 5 pm at the Boulder Airport. For those of us who can’t wait until June, the Denver Turnverein has Swing Dancing every Friday night. Check out these venues if you have not given Swing Dancing a try. It helped the Greatest Generation through one of the worse wars in recent history; it just might help you through some of the hard times in your life too.
Jennifer Smith-Daigle is a freelance writer and owner of Looking-Glass Science, a company that creates science modules with academically simulated components for elementary schools. Her children are in fourth and first grades. She and her boys are survivors of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, being some of the first 200 people in the United States to be cured by Fetoscopic Laser Ablation surgery. Jennifer’s life before kids included world travel, historic preservation, and archaeology digs.