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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

Dancing with Angels

Terri Reinhart

I was dancing with angels last night. No, I haven't died or started a new religion, and I haven't been indulging in Colorado candy. I was square dancing. Angels, in the square dance world are those more experienced dancers who volunteer to help teach new students by being their dance partners. 

Square dancing? Ask anyone if they've ever square danced and more than likely they'll say yes, but not since 6th grade. No matter which school they attended in which state, 6th grade seems to have been The Year for square dancing. They all remember how much fun they had and can't seem to remember why they never did it again.

Square dancing as adults? I've thought about it many times over the years as it was the only type of dancing my husband would consider, even theoretically. After looking into the clubs around town, I decided against it. I wasn't sure I'd fit in, much less my husband - even theoretically. 

Then came Linda, one of my dance teachers from my Dance for PD class, who excitedly told me how she had started learning how to square dance and how much she loved it. Seems she had looked at clubs all over the city before deciding on one. She had been discouraged too. "I just didn't fit in," she said, grimacing as she remembered her visits to various clubs.

"They were wearing the dresses, weren't they," She nodded and I nodded back sympathetically. Linda is from Brooklyn. She taught, and still teaches, ballroom dancing. Imagining Linda in a frilly square dance dress with all the petticoats? It doesn't work. And there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that could get me to wear one. I am not a petticoat kind of gal.

The group she eventually joined was much more informal. Jeans and t-shirts. Lots of laughing. Lots of eating. Lots of parties. She had just finished her first year of lessons and invited me to come to their open house in September. She invited my husband, too, which, theoretically would have been nice, but practically, he preferred to stay home and read. 

The group is the Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus, an LGBTQA club. The Q stands for questioning and A? maybe it stands for All the rest of us, because it's an all inclusive group and one of the warmest and most welcoming groups of people I've had the pleasure to meet. They are into having some serious fun with dancing. This is not your 6th grade dance class. Fortunately, we start out slow and build on what we learn each week. It is a real physical and mental workout.

I've heard square dancing is becoming more popular among college students, especially those math geeks who see the steps as geometry equations. I'm glad I didn't hear this before I started or I may never have joined. I've lost count of how many members really did not want to join, but were talked into coming once, and then stayed to become leaders, organizers, and... angels. 

Here's their website:  Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus