This is the seventh of a series of Dancer Spotlights to show how dancing fits into someone’s day.
Bob is a software developer and dancer for life. He’s often affectionately called “Bandana Bob” because of the signature bandana he wears on his head when dancing.
Bob’s first adventure into dancing was getting dragged to Contra by a friendwhen he was in Austin attending the International Conference on Computer Design 19 years ago. He is now eternally grateful to this friend. Bob had a Computer Science background, played sports, and no prior exposure to dance. So Contra was an easy intro into dancing because the caller tells the dancers what to do. Bob thinks playing sports also helped him learn dance because both activities involve physical body movements and quick reaction to external stimuli.
While Bob really enjoyed the dance, it took a New Year’s Resolution to take him to Palo Alto Contra. He quickly became a member and also learned gender bending because he’d rather dance as follow than sit on the bench where there were not enough follows. Then, through the Waltz breaks at Contra, Bob developed an interest in Waltz and discovered the Gaskell Ball, a formal Victorian Costume Ball. He loved having an excuse to dress up and wear suits. Bob also savored the creativity involved in those partnered dances.
When asked for his thoughts on following vs. leading, Bob replied: “Personally, I like both leading and following, and especially switching between the two during the same dance. You use different parts of your brain in the different roles, switching between the two forces you to keep all those parts active, and switching during the same dance forces those parts to be really active! My most favorite dance partners are those who enjoy doing that.”
Another fellow dancer told Bob about Ceili thinking he would like the high energy and the challenge of more complex footwork (note: getting the footwork is not necessary to get started with Ceili). This friend was right and Bob soon became a regular at the Starry Plough Pub, where they do Irish Dance & Ceili every Monday. Eventually, a Stanford student approached Bob to help start and teach Stanford Ceili.
On Tuesday, Bob felt anticipation as he drank coffee before going to Stanford Ceili. He anticipates having fun dancing and seeing his friends. During the dance, Bob was excited to see lots of new people. After dancing, Bob felt euphoria!
To Bob, dancing means “core” — it is core to his identity. He has been bitten by the dancing bug and dances five days a week. Bob met many of his close and beloved friends through dancing. He is always encouraging more people to try dancing.