Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Folk Festival, Round 2

I had the opportunity to go to Ransäterstämman for the second year in a row. I really embrace that time, being outside of the normal, living in a tent in the wilderness, and dancing until dawn. This year was just as wonderful as last, which I had written a bit about here, but I wanted to write down a few details specific to this year that I know I'll enjoy re-reading in the future.

I think my favorite moment of Friday night, and possibly (probably) of the whole festival was that at some point, I think even before the 1am break, one of the musicians said something (in swedish, so just consider this a loose translation, which might be totally wrong) that we are here in this place dancing and our roots go back to the hambo, so we should dance a hambo! In the big hall the hambo is Never danced, so that was a really special treat. I expected a lot of people to leave the floor due to a lack of interest, but the majority stayed. And the most amazing part was that it just worked so perfectly, despite how crowded the floor was. Or maybe because of how crowded the floor was. It was just a really lovely moment of togetherness, and it made me glad to see that the people in the big hall can enjoy a hambo too.

That night I managed to stay dancing until 4:30am (aka sunrise). When I got to my tent I made sure to use some facial cleansing wipes in lieu of a shower. Greg predicted that one cloth could basically clean an entire body, and he was right. I was still pretty warm from dancing, and also since it had gotten to be so late/early, I missed the super cold part of the night, and slept comfortably without freezing or overheating.

During the day on Saturday, there isn't any dancing so I just stayed in my tent, having an introvert's dream day of seeing no people for 8 hours. I spent my time reading and sleeping, and it was just so lovely. It also worked out perfectly that at just the time when I started to get really warm and think I needed to get out of my tent, a gentle rain started and cooled the air to a perfect temperature. Oh it was just such a nice sleepy, dreamy day. 

I had a slow start to dancing on Saturday evening. Maybe I was slow to warm up to dancing, or maybe just slow to warm up to people again. Plus I don't always have the courage to ask people to dance. Most of the time I don't actually. I would feel bad if someone felt obligated to say yes and then ended up hating dancing with me. There are some obvious things a person can do in order to get invited to dance, and I usually take that approach. Unfortunately, it wasn't working super well. I think this was largely due to other dynamics (aka usually older men will just never ask younger women to dance, despite the fact that I wouldn't be hanging out in the dance hall with all the old people if I didn't want to dance with them).

Eventually I had to give up and head to the overcrowded dance hall, and on my way I ran into a friend who said he would dance with me. We agreed to go to the big hall and dance together a bit. That was good and helped get me out of my funk. And then somehow I just was in a mood to ask people to dance. And I just asked anyone I happened to see, the only criteria being that they were wearing dance shoes. I actually got consistently good results and was starting to have a better and better time.

Now for a twist in the story!

I went to the back of the hall to get some water, and as I was enjoying my water and thinking about who would be the next person I'd ask to dance, the guy next to me said something to me. I thought he was asking to dance, but then he was with a friend and he was trying to get the friend to dance with another girl who was standing on the other side of them, but the friend wouldn't. So this was a sort of funny and interesting situation, and I definitely had to switch to English to figure out what was going on. 

It turns out that these two guys lived in the area and just stopped in to check it out and see what the stämman was all about. They were completely unaware of all things relevant to folkdancing in the present day world. It was really entertaining for me. I think they were both sort of shocked because it was just such a new and strange world to them.

The three of us ended up standing in the back talking for a long time, while they asked questions and tried to wrap their minds around what was happening. It was SO interesting to me to see an outsider's reaction. I did eventually get each of them to dance a tiny bit with me, despite the fact that they insisted it was 'not their thing!'

All in all, the weekend was just so lovely and enjoyable. I hope there will be many more in my future!

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