In the name of science, I decided to go to a contra dance and report back. Actually, I contra’d long ago and have wanted to get back to it. I wondered how it would go since there is a fair amount of spinning involved. Would it trigger the vertigo and send me to my knees in the middle of a dance? Here’s a video of experienced dancers. As you can see, there are many opportunities to lose one’s bearings.

Chattahoochee Country Dancers (2011)

So I got out my dancing shoes and headed to a dance this past weekend. I minimized the extra twirls for the first few dances, and I warned my partners that I was “rusty.” I was a little wobbly after the end of those first dances. I rocked on my heels a few times and pretended I was stretching instead of almost falling!  Then I was fine the rest of the evening and didn’t have trouble during or after the dances (at least, no trouble that was related to vertigo! Remember, I was rusty.).

I realize now that vertigo develops a “skill set” that is useful in contra dancing. When my vertigo is acting up I will rely more on my hands and feet to keep me steady, rather than my eyes. I can walk around ignoring the information my eyes are sending to my brain, if I need to. That works really well in contra dancing, too. Ignore the walls and windows speeding by. Focus on your partner. Hang on. Have fun.

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