This is part of the Dancer Spotlight series to show how someone got into dancing and how dancing fits into someone’s day.

Phil is a retired engineer and lifelong dancer. I met Phil at Palo Alto Contra, where he was very friendly and welcoming.He dates his first encounter with dancing to back in college. As Phil was about to start college, he followed his sister advice to take folkdance — easy PE credits for fulfilling requirements. Soon after, he discovered the folk dance club, and folk dance became his main social life for 20 years.

When Phil first tried Contra, he was winded at the end of a single dance. But he decided to do Contra to get in shape for Hungarian Couple Dance. In less than a year, he could do several Contra dances in a row without taking a break. By then, Phil was hooked! He was no longer dancing Contra for exercise.

Phil has been dancing Contra for over 25 years, but you may also find him doing Argentine Tango, and Blues/Fusion. When not dancing, he likes to surf online, read news, and watch anime and talk shows.

On this particular Saturday, Phil was anticipating that evening’s Contra dancing in San Francisco. While he often carpools, his potential carpooler bowed out on this day. So he got ready — changed his clothes and grabbed cookies, water, and gatorade — and drove over. Upon arriving, Phil changed his shoes, added his cookies to the snack potluck, and helped with the beginner’s lesson. He was very happy to see a big turnout. Phil enjoyed the excellent music, good snacks from the potluck, and dancing with many women — both new partners and familiar friends. Satisfied after this extra good event, Phil drove home and wound down before bed by changing into more comfortable clothing, eating a delicious meal, and surfing the internet.

To Phil, dance is “life.” Dancing is his identity. So he didn’t lose his identity, as many others do, when he retired.