For many years now my husband, Daniel and I have joked about taking up ballroom dancing. It’s totally out of our comfort zone, it’s just wild to think of us wallflowers, who are as graceful as a rock, dancing beautifully around the room – in front of other people – no less! About a month ago Daniel called and surprised me with an appointment for a private dancing lesson at the good ole Arthur Murray Dance Studio. I laughed that we were actually going to go through with it! Then, I panicked a little. Dancing in front of other people was going to be humiliating, I thought. I imagined my ungraceful self clumsily stepping on toes and bumping into people. But, I am always telling the kids to try new things and now it was my turn.
It comforted me that we were having a private lesson. I imagined a small little room, with a door, where we could just laugh it out and try our best. We arrived, dancing shoes in tow at the Dance Studio. I surveyed the scene. Lot’s of older men and women beautifully waltzing or cha–cha–ing around a very large, mirrored room with music blaring. Okay, I thought, I can do this. Where’s our private little room? I looked around, but didn’t see any door! We were going to have our private lesson in front of all of these people!
Suddenly, my heart started pounding a little harder and my palms got sweaty. I looked at Daniel and we both nervously smiled, feeling disappointment for the other at the tortuous humiliation we were about to pile upon ourselves.
Our teacher, a perky little lady, grabbed us both arm in arm. She asked us why we decided to take a dancing lesson. Hmm, to try something new and out of our comfort zone, I explained. She looked confused – “Uh, okay.” Wasn’t that why all people danced? I thought. She asked us if we had danced much together in the past. When I responded only once together at a wedding, she looked at us like we were total losers. Great, this is going to be interesting.
She walked, literally, with us arm in her arm, reassuring us that this was all dancing was about. Movement of the feet. Okay, I can do that!! After walking, in our little row of three, she placed Daniel and me in a traditional Waltz hold. 1,2,3,4 – we were learning the box step. After I stepped on Daniel about 10 times (and he only stepped on me once!) we kind of got the hang of it and looked up from the floor. Eye to eye we smiled at one another and immediately I felt less self-conscious. We can do this and it’s kind of fun…
After a few good shows of the box step we graduated to Swing. Hand on hand we shuffle-stepped back and forth and rocked side to side. It was a basic movement, but when she put on some “Twist & Shout” the Beatles hooked us up with some pretty good swing-ish style. Who knew Daniel had some hip-movement? Impressive.
Our forty-five minutes went by quickly and we had both survived. It was actually really fun. I learned some things about posture, movement and paying attention to my partner. It was interesting, a little scary and great for someone more introverted like me.
I realized over drinks with Daniel later that evening – it’s so easy in the course of life to constantly tell the kids to try something new and forget we’re still growing up too. If we don’t remember to shake things up (or twist and shout) every now and again, life gets monotonous and boring. There’s always lots of talk this time of year about New Year’s Resolutions. I am sure that their origins lay in the same school of thought – trying something new or making a change is never a bad thing as it always brings out something new and challenging.