So as I mentioned in the inaugural post, I started learning to dance as a gesture to my wife. Since then, we have been taking lessons (about 6 months now). When we started, we really focused on the major smooth dances: Foxtrot and Waltz. We did this because, for our wedding, we had taken dance lessons and started learning the Waltz and really took to it. Also, my wife has a background in ballet and the music is in ¾ time which is similar to the Waltz.
So, although the entire package I had bought included group lessons, parties, and practice sessions, we focused on the private lessons. This was partly because we wanted a really strong foundation, but it was also because, at the time, getting in the middle of a group of people and dancing scared me to death. So, almost immediately what occurred to me was a dynamic that is less so today, but is still present. I mentioned that my wife has a background in dance. Now, she wasn’t a ballroom dancer, but she is a fantastic lead. We’ll get more to the fact that that is a double-edged sword for me, but in general, our instructor was obviously extremely excited to get her hands on us (now I realize that’s the truth, but at the time I thought that the excitement was only directed towards my wife). Whichever way the excitement went, the truth of the matter is that early on, I realized the dynamic was going to be, “We need to really work on this guy to get him up to the same level as her before we can work on them as a unit”. For an already uncomfortable situation, this added a certain level of anxiety around the whole experience that was, quite frankly, unexpected.
In addition to the psychological barriers I was facing, there was also some serious dance instruction to be had on my part. For any of you guys that have learned to do any dance in hold, you know that the frame needs to be up and strong for the duration of the dance. Additionally, you need to be a strong lead for your partner through this frame. Your footwork needs to be soft and smooth. You need to be able to hear the music and identify the beat structure. You need to either remember the routine ahead of time or come up with one on the fly. Oh yeah, and you need to do all of this while also having a smile pasted to your face. So you can imagine that in the beginning, with all of these elements going through my head at the same time, when I did one thing well, another thing would break down. Then when I fixed that aspect, something I had down broke down. Now, over time, certain things became habit and I calmed down, but those early days were really a trying time for me.
Then, just when I got comfortable dancing in a private setting, our instructor told us 2 things:
- Have you guys considered entering our Showcase coming up in 6 weeks?
- I really would like to see you guys at our Group Lessons, Practices, and Parties.
(To be continued)