First, a disclaimer: I do not drink, although you might think I tipple if you ever saw me dancing with my cell phone. Second, a confession: I do occasionally partake of Gin and Tonic. Third, an explanation: The Gin and Tonic I’m referring to here is a line dance, not a libation.
I find this non-liquid form of Gin and Tonic surprisingly refreshing, both mentally and physically, especially during these shelter-in-place times. Additionally, it’s a fun way to ensure I can still zip my jeans after prolonged intimacy with my cookie jar.
While mastering individual dance steps can often be challenging, I don’t struggle with that a lot, even as a novice dancer. However, remembering the sequence of those steps is the other half of the equation. And that’s the part that nails me.
When I’m in a dance class with an instructor moving in front of me and calling out the steps, I can actually look like I know what I’m doing. But attempting a line dance on my own, in the privacy of my house, aided only by a cell phone video, is another story.
Granted, some desperate dancers in stay-at-home mode resort to partnering with their laptops or tablets. But that didn’t work for me.
To start with, I don’t own a tablet. And to end with, I think dancing while holding a laptop would be almost as awkward as running a race with my shoelaces tied together.
Using a smart phone for instruction means you never lose sight of your dance instructor when you have to change direction. That’s important since some dances, such as the Gin and Tonic, require facing different walls. If you have to turn your back on a stationary computer screen, well, you can’t see a darned thing the teacher is doing, and good luck with that.
One reason I like this particular line dance is a matter of contradictions. To be honest, I have never been a big fan of country music. Oh, I love Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Heck, I grew up listening to “Ring of Fire” and “I Fall to Pieces” on my transistor radio.
Yet if I had to choose which artists to take with me to a deserted island with no other music options available, Queen, Dylan, or Beethoven would most likely be my companions.
Had you told me a month ago that I’d be humming a tune called “Love Drunk” by an American country duo named LoCash Cowboys, I’d have said you were delusional. But that’s the beauty of entering a brave new world like line dancing during the time of coronavirus. You can surprise yourself by discovering you truly like something you never expected to enjoy.
Now back to Gin and Tonic. This line dance is simple enough for even a beginner like me to master. Every time I make it through each 32-count sequence facing four different walls without a misstep, I feel inordinately proud of myself. This dance includes moves with intriguing names such as Monterey Turn, Jazz Box, and Grapevine, which I happily discovered sound trickier to enact than they actually are.
Once perfected, they gave this rookie the confidence needed to feel at home on the line dance floor, even if it is currently her own living room floor.
While some line dances may vary slightly or majorly by instructor or region, every video or instructor of the Gin and Tonic I’ve watched looks similar. Even the music is typically the same, “Love Drunk,” though the dance pairs nicely with other tunes. Luke Bryon’s heart-tugging “I Don’t Want This Night to End” has become another of my I-can’t believe-I’m-a-country-convert favorites.
Rather than attempt to explain via the written word the various steps of this dance, I would suggest that anyone wanting to learn Gin and Tonic would benefit most by watching a video. Here is one I found helpful: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdczBfC15yg. You can also Google for others.
Enough of them exist out in cyberspace to give you plenty of opportunity to conquer the moves on your own. You can even find YouTube videos of dancers from foreign lands, moving in sync with you as you hold your cell phone and sashay around your house along with LoCash or Luke.
And should you find keeping track of the step sequence daunting, you can always print a copy of the step sheet from www.silverspurrs.com/step-sheets/line-dances/item/655-gin-a-tonic.
Before embarking on this adventure, however, it’s a good idea to make sure your cell phone is fully charged. You may also want to pull down the shades or close the blinds.
That’s just to keep your neighbors from thinking you’ve been incarcerated too long with your cell phone and indulging in more Gin and Tonic than is good for your health. MSN