Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Northwest Folklife Festival 2014

One year ago I danced my way across the contra dance floor day after day and hour after hour.

It's been a year since I danced and I was so thrilled to be back in Seattle for another NWFLF (Northwest Folklife Festival).

I arrived early early in the morning after some delays on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, my luggage did not. That didn't stop me from spending some wonderful quality time with three very good friends that day. The weather was beautiful and time was spent wandering the streets of Fremont, laying on the grassy hillside at the Ballard locks, and walking through Ballard that evening.

I wish I'd had more time to devote to reconnecting and spending time with my friends. Life is so short and sometimes it feels like time is stolen from me more than just passing by.

Thursday my friend and I headed up Little Si Mountain. My lower back was hurting significantly from excessive exercise and stretching the prior week so I'm positive that it was the slowest ascent and descent I've ever done on a mountain, but I enjoyed being outside nonetheless. The critters were out too. Spotted lots of caterpillars, some deer, a chipmunk, and even a small snake crossing the path. The sun was out and the forest was alive with colors and sounds of summer.

The trail head.

A popular rock climbing wall in the woods.

View from the top. That's not Seattle in case you were wondering...

The trail through the trees. It's soooo green!

Yes, we stopped and stared at each other for a bit. He graciously posed for the camera :)

Friday started Folklife. Since my back was still weak I only danced for a cumulative of a few hours, and only contra dancing that day. It was a day of reuniting with old friends and reintroducing my body to the dance world again :)

Saturday I planned a more complex day. It started with some swing dancing and continued into an hour and a half of Gilbert and Sullivan sing-a-longs! By then it was early evening and I headed back to some contra dancing for the rest of the night.

Sunday started with some contra but soon turned into a fabulous and fun hour of zydeco dancing!! Sweaty and blissfully happy I left to find some food and a Bach sing-a-long choir. Dancing resumed again with a bunch of Scandinavian dances, more contra, outside swing in the rain on the grass and a conclusive night of waltzing. My feet were hurting by the end of Sunday, but my back was no longer. I was eager to rest for the last day of Folklife.

Monday was going to be the most unusual for me that I had planned. I spent some time dancing zydeco in the morning and then a lovely afternoon discussing blues improv for violin and contra dance writing with a good friend. When I went back to dancing it was to the swing stage for the afternoon. I did have one complete contra dance on Monday to complete my contra dancing weekend before heading out to latin ballroom dancing. I shimmied and swirled and swept my way across the latin floor for the rest of the night before it was time to say good bye to everyone I'd just met and all the friends I'd barely had time to share one dance with all weekend.

It was an amazing weekend. Not just for the fun of dancing and the friendships, but because this weekend I broke down some boundaries I'd created, pushed myself out of some comfort zones I had, set goals that I completed, and discovered a confidence that I had long ago lost. I knew this weekend would be magical but still was unprepared for how magical and life changing it would be. I'm so thankful for all the friends I have, all the friends I made, and all the friends I haven't lost while traveling so often and so far without constant contact. I'm still amazed at the generosity, humble kindness, and genuine love they show toward me and am so blessed to have a place in all of their lives, no matter how small it may be (cozy corners are often the best spots)!

Here's to Folklife, Friends, Fun, and many more of these times to come!

Next I'm off to Ohio to perform for the summer at the Ohio Light Opera Company. Come visit. Come see a show. I'll be performing, I'll be dancing (locally as often as possible, but not on stage lol), I'll be outside mountain biking and playing tennis, and best of all, I'll be enjoying life as I continue my pursuit of the cruise ship :)

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