Enjoying more French dancing in Pittsburgh

A month ago I reported on how Abby and I had our first experience of French traditional dance. On Saturday, we went again to Skibo Gym at Carnegie Mellon University for another fun session of French dancing from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.

We had a great time again, and afterwards joined the instructors and some other people in having dinner at Gullifty’s.


In addition to some familiar faces, there were many new people we hadn’t met before, and I got my office mate John to go too. Abby and I learned some dances that were not taught the last time, and we got to do more of the dances we had learned the last time.

The male-female ratio was not so great this time: it would be nice to have more men attend these workshops and dances! If you are male and interested in learning French dance, come next month!

3-count bourrée

Last month, we had learned the 2-count bourrée, but this month we also added the 3-count. That’s really fast and was a real workout!

Dances from last time

We went over the dances from last time also. Since they were no longer new to me, I felt freer to feel the music more and make the most of enjoying the dances.

For example, in a very simple circle dance, I felt like lifting my body up when we swung our arms upward, and letting my body bend naturally to the “1-2-3, down” movement. Otherwise, just stepping endlessly like a rigid robot was getting quite boring.

Last time, I was rather stiff and clumsy at the Schottische, waltz, and mazurka, because I was out of practice in these turning dances. This time I got more into the swing of things and remembered the fun I had doing ballroom dancing over ten years ago.

There were two other circle dances from last time that we did again. I really enjoy these partner switching dances. Again, since I knew the moves already, I felt freer to improve my technique and personal expression.

Social dancing

A familiar musician, Donna Isaac, played fiddle for us, with Gregory on his Irish flute again. I liked the different texture from last month’s piano and flute, but I have to confess that missing a bass line made the music harder to dance to. In fact, I ended up starting to hum my own bass line to fill in the harmonies to feel less of a musical omission and help my rhythm while dancing!

Again I thank everyone who was at the workshop and dance. It was a great group. I am so happy to be dancing again. I had put it aside for a couple of years after Abby and I got married, but now I envision our making it a regular part of our lives again!

(Sorry, I took no photos or videos this time. I spent the whole time immersed in dancing!)

Dinner at Gullifty’s

Since people were talking about going to dinner afterwards, and this time Abby and I did not leave the dance early before it ended, we ended up joining six others for dinner. We helped pack stuff up and drove home and walked to Gullifty’s. I hadn’t been there in at least ten years. It’s not my favorite idea of food, but I made the most of it.

I ordered a “pierogie burger” for dinner. Only in Pittsburgh, ha! It was actually pretty good. It was a burger that had pierogies on top, all encased in a bun. It came with a pickle and fries. Not the kind of food I usually eat, but “cheating” once in a while is fun.

Of course, we “had” to have dessert. Gullifty’s is “famous” for desserts. Abby and I had reservations about continuing our “cheating” to desserts, but what the heck, we shared a triple chocolate cake. Unfortunately, we got a huge chunk of cake, as the waitress explained that it was the end of the cake so we got probably twice as much as we would ordinarily have received. We ate the whole thing, but I ended up feeling quite sugared out and bloated. That’s the punishment for “cheating” way too much.

Blues and other dancing

People at dinner were talking about needing to take a nap afterwards and then going to a blues dance at midnight. That’s very late for Abby and me to be dancing! We’ve never done blues dancing before but are interested in trying it out sometime (but not if it’s too late at night).

The dinner gang was also into Lindy hop. I did a little bit of Lindy and swing a decade ago, but never got much into it. Maybe Abby and I should check that out too. I know there’s a lot of it here in Pittsburgh. In the past, I’ve gone to Swing City. There’s the Edgewood Club also.

I’m kind of interested in Chicken Swing because it meets right at Carnegie Mellon.

And there’s West Coast swing in town too, at Absolute Ballroom.


It was a lot of fun dancing with Abby more again, and also with other people, and hanging out at dinner. I am not a dance maniac any more, and time is limited, but I am excited about continuing with Abby to further explore dances we haven’t done much of before. It’s great exercise and great socializing!

(Update of 2012-05-14)

Three months later, I ended up beginning to play French music on flutes!

comments powered by Disqus