My first few days in Budapest were spent mostly at home, in the local library or local cafes, booking travel and doing admin. There were no dances, but it was okay because I still had a horrible cough and I needed to recover. I was also very emotional, missing my lovely Italian host family and crying about my own family's problems. Still, I appreciated the city on the Danube by bike, lots of great food and a relaxing arvo at the famous Gellert baths.
My mood started to lift on Friday evening at contact improvisation, my health was on the mend. And I was excited to go to my first swing dance later that night. When I arrived about 11pm in the studio on Paulay, the room was almost empty... less than 10 people sat around the corners and one couple was dancing, or maybe two, on a lovely smooth parquet floor.
Interesting, slow swing music -- I started to dance, and then one of the guys offered me his hand. The ice was broken and after that I danced with most of the guys in the room. There were two Adams, one Atilla, a Balasz. I asked Adam if for info about upcoming parties and he told me about a little jazz gig that later turned into a very good Saturday night out. When I told him about my dance odyssey, he asked me if I was doing it with friends. No, I'm doing it alone. "That's brave" he said.
On Saturday night I met up with Balaz (Bollot).We started with a drink and hot chips at my favourite local cafe, Fecszcke, then a walk along the river... this section of the river bank has too many ugly barges, tourists and cars. After initially being quite vague and noncommittal, eventually Balaz went along with my plans and invited his friends. So its Saturday night and we have a little posse: Balaz mates and a few other dancers, familiar from the night before – in a beautiful old bar with a live band. As often the case with lindy hoppers, they are sweetly nerdy ...one of them works in water management, one of them is a physicist.
10.30PM on Saturday night and we are drinking hot chocolate, tea and home-made lemonade. Cafe Zsivago is decked out like the home of your Hungarian grandmother, the sideboard stacked with crystal and porcelain, and every table covered with tapestry or lace.Balaz friends were friendly and curious about me... and best of all they loved to dance. It took no effort at all to get them to join me. Laura Lackey's Rhythm Revue played a great mix of swing and blues, at just the right tempo. The band and other bar patrons got a kick out of our dancing too.
There was young Adam, with his butterfly moves. My new friend Balaz, a very keen dancer, wishing only that he had brought more shirts to sweat in. But the highlight was two dances with the older Adam... maybe late 30s. Very creative and humorous moves/timings to slow lindy, delicious scoots, and he ended our second dance with a really playful, grand finale 'fountain' move... ahh it felt so good.
It's hard to express the feeling of gratitude and joy. 'Thank you' and my biggest smile is all I've got. And sometimes (depending on the culture) there might be a hug, a high 5 or a kiss on the cheek.