The other night we took our first dance lesson. We had been looking for something fun to do and this just seemed to fit the bill. We picked something that was not fast or sassy like the Rumba or Salsa. The Slide didn’t generate much interest nor did the Polka. We decided that the only prerequisite was that the music needed to be old and slow …just like me… and most of the other students who showed up. In short that left us only one dance…the Waltz.
For those of us who know me and before you howl in laughter let me assure you that this waltzing stuff is hard work. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER:
Eyes up..keep looking over your partner’s left ear.
Left hand held high…but not too high…not too low either.
And keep in mind that your right hand must be seen at all times in order to prove you are not goosing your partner.
And those feet…keep them out from under your partner.
Make your steps smaller.
Make your steps bigger.
And ladies, to make this dancing stuff even harder… you will be moving BACKWARDS!
“Okay, I’ve got this,” I thought after doing the box step about a dozen times. By then, B and I had stopped fighting about who got to lead. But then, horrors of horrors, we were told to switch partners! It had the effect on me that an orgy would…get me the heck out of here!!!
Now I know I said for the next week I would only write positive things. So here goes: I am positive I have two left feet and should be banned for dancing forever. By the time we were done I think my other partners believed so too. I looked like a teenage boy at his first boy-girl dance in Junior High. Graceful was not in the cards but stress induced acne was.
My first partner smiled big as I slipped into his arms. His smiled disappeared the first of the seven times that I stepped on his toes. “Stop trying to lead,” was his helpful advice.
When I arrived before partner #2 I laughed wickedly and said, “I was a teenager of the 70’s. I either danced alone or did the BUMP.” I saw “CHALLENGE” flash through the man’s eyes. We had only gotten three steps into the box when he said in a superior and slightly uptight manner “Stop trying to lead.”
Partner #3 was obviously a professional dancer. I tried the BUMP conversation again at which point he said, “Hogwash, I can make any dancer look good.” Turns out he was wrong. He waved me on to the next man with a “Stop trying to lead” tripping off his tongue as I inadvertently did the same over my own foot.
Partners 4, 5,6, and 7 all had the same thoughts and “stop trying to lead” became the mantra of the day. This dancing stuff was tough and not necessarily because of the movements and coordination that was involved. Truth be told it was the fighting each man to lead that was doing me in.
I think at this point I should confess that I do like to lead in all areas of my life. Frankly, I am a natural born leader and a forward thinking kind of girl. I try not to look back in life with too many regrets and apparently this going backwards stuff while doing the waltz didn’t leave me without regrets either. I soon began to ask myself, “What am I doing here?”
Finally after being paired with so many different partners, I arrived back into B’s arms. It felt good and comforting to be held by someone so familiar and suddenly I found myself moving backwards with ease. In retrospect, I think it has something to do with trust and for those few moments I had an abundance of it as B waltzed me across the ancient hardwood floor.
I wish it was that easy in real life. It must be amazing to just let go and get swept up in the moment, gracefully put one foot in front of the other, and in time to whatever life throws your way. It must feel marvelous being able to trust your partner and to know without a doubt that they won’t bang you into any walls or waltz you right off the stage. To know that your back is covered and your feet are too. And it must be awesome to move with your partner to life’s beat without constraint and without a care in the world.
I hope dancing will teach me all of those things and more. I am even more hopeful that dancing will allow me to finally recognize something even more important:
That following doesn’t mean giving up the lead…it only means you’ll tread on fewer toes!