hamburg, tango argentino, festival

I don’t remember ever having the desire to ballroom dance. It did not even enter my mind. I loved to freestyle dance and could shake it pretty good in Zumba class.  I danced as a child, you know the usual tap, ballet, and jazz until I was 12 years old. I loved to perform and even loved watching old movies with Gene Kelley, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and many others. There was something that entranced me about the way they moved, their synchronicity and  connection to make something appear so fluid, easy, and elegant all at the same time! Yet to ballroom dance? Why would I need to learn it in today’s world, and how could it help me now in my life? Again, life’s mystery takes over and if I roll with it or go with the flow of my intuition, I transform and become someone I didn’t know I was capable of becoming.

Alone one day back in November I was driving in my car. I had just met a friend for lunch and was on my way home. I looked over at this vaccuum place I had been to recently and right above that store noticed a neon sign for dance lessons with a phone number. How had I not seen it before?(It has been there 3 years!) I had driven this road millions of times and never seen it! I went home and called the number and found out the name of the studio. I looked it up on-line and thought it looked reputable and interesting. I began thinking….what would ballroom dance lessons be like? How much would it cost and how many would I need to take to be really good? I had seen “Dancing with the Stars” and was fascinated with the way they could move after only several weeks of training! I had also seen “Dirty Dancing” many times and loved the way Johnny and Baby danced at their Country Club performance! Could I do that? It became my daily focus and I knew I was going to have to do it soon or it would drive me crazy!

I signed up for the first introductory lesson for $25. I showed up really nervous with a pair of 1 inch heels. (Never mind these were my character shoes from all the theater I had done, and were stiff as rocks and would hurt my feet after 15 minutes of dancing) The owner greeted me at the door with a handshake and sat me down at a table to fill out the formality paperwork. He also offered me sangria, yet I declined. How was I going to dance if I was drunk?! Later on I begged for the sangria as I realized all his hand holding and close contact was causing me to be VERY uncomfortable! This was my first sign I was in the RIGHT PLACE! We don’t grow when we are comfortable. We grow when we get uncomfortable.

When I went in to dance for the first time, I wondered if I would be able to follow. During my marriage my masculine energy side dominated and when you ballroom dance, the man is the leader and the woman is the follower. I thought I might try to lead and so this was a test of sorts for me. At the end of the class I asked the instructor, “Did I follow you?” He said yes you did great! I was so proud of myself.  I had to watch his feet the whole time yet he said I picked up all the steps quickly. I was very excited to return!

My next lesson became even more uncomfortable. I had gotten the steps down and now he wanted me to look him in the eyes and feel where he was going. Do you know how intense it is to look someone in the eyes the whole time you are dancing????!!! Especially a stranger!?! It’s very intimate! It’s no wonder all these dance partners become romantically involved. They have close body contact and are intensely focused on one another for hours at a time! I did what he asked and found I was able to let him lead even more and felt more relaxed. We were becoming in sync. I felt alive and free and was able to really enjoy myself and just be in the moment. It was an awesome experience and I kept going back until they asked me to become a teacher.

So now I am receiving the gift of working with beginner ballroom dancers! I love it so much. I have had the experience of being new so I can relate to them and their fears and anxieties. I have had wonderful students and I am learning more and more about myself and my dance and teaching style. I am learning how to choreograph and listen for rhythm in music to match a certain dance. I am using parts of my creative side I have never used before. It’s been so rewarding and I have barely even begun!

If you like to dance, I highly recommend checking out a ballroom dance studio. It’s great fun, good exercise and you will gain self-confidence and self-esteem!

photo credit: Pixabay