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It’s all in the dance

October 21, 2010

The subject of dating came up in discussions with quite a few friends and I decided to put my two-cents in before my brain files this WAY back in the memory cabinet.  The subject of courtship/dating has been a bit of a lively conversation among folks in this generation of young adulthood.  I’m surrounded by some pretty stellar BICs & SICs (Brothers-in-Christ & Sisters-in-Christ) and NO ONE seems to be stepping out of the boat in pursuing each other for fear of “messing things up”.

I have a specific point of view and have been listening to others speak about this interesting “challenge” of single-hood.  While I cannot say that I’m immune to the lonely bug every once in a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve got the choice to see my current state in life as a blessing or a curse.  Considering so many think of being single is a curse (not necessarily in MY crew of peeps), I’m going to talk about the blessings instead…and what’s been going on to help me be a better help-mate to my future spouse.

A lot of the things I’ve learned about relationships with men I’ve learned on the dance floor.  No joke.  For as clearly as I hear the Lord in front of the Blessed Sacrament or in Adoration, I hear Him just as clearly on the dance floor.  Really.  Strange phenomenon, to be sure, but I’ll address the spiritual aspect towards the end…or in another post.

One of my favorite dance teachers is a wonderful gal named, Margie.  She’s a professional peformer and a most incredible teacher, but without knowing it, she’s been one of the best life teachers I’ve ever had.  Her little sayings during swing dance lessons have truly influenced the way I see myself as well as I see others.  So here are some of the “pearls” I’ve received in the past few years (paraphrased according to how I remember them):

1.)  keep your feet underneath you at all times

2.) RELAX!

3.) match the lead’s level of energy meaning don’t over-power him or wimp out

3.) don’t look down (a cardinal sin in the dance world)

4.) be alert & sensitive to the way the lead leads!

5.) Be patient (especially with new dancers…)

6.) SMILE

7.) SEEK to CONNECT with the lead, DO NOT TAKE the lead

8.)  be responsible for your own actions

9.) don’t criticize the lead (my emphasis: EVER)

10.) HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Margie would say, “ladies, you WANT to be the Ferrari the guys want to drive”…in other words, work on being a GREAT follow.

This is what I know about dancing.  First off, learning how to do the steps IS important.  A very close second is this: learning how to be an astute follow is what really makes a lady a GREAT dancer.  I’ve made many mistakes on the dance floor ranging from taking the lead, to over powering the lead to assuming what the lead’s gonna do next to hanging on too tightly…you name it…I’ve done it.  I’m STILL learning how to be a better follow, but part of that came from becoming a lead myself.  I have MAD respect for leads.  You have to think ahead, be aware of your dance partner’s abilities, keep in time to the music, do the right steps, give clear direction, SMILE, relax, try not to kill your partner with your strength AND to top things off…be able to carry a conversation from time to time….it’s not EASY being a lead and it’s far from SIMPLE.

I’ve had the opportunity to study swing dancing again this past summer due to a pleasant surprise in finding someone who enjoys dancing as much as I do.  That’s quite a rarity in this area of my world and to find one who actually is confident in learning a new style is one in a BILLION.  So I’ve picked up the basics again in Lindy, East Coast Swing, Charleston and Balboa.  Balboa is a particularly fast dance and the hold is ridiculously close.  Kind of like the Argentine Tango dance hold, but not nearly as formal in the posture.

The connection is a “V” shape with connections from the armpit to the hip.  There are a couple of things that you should know before you attempt this:

1.) you have to be comfortable in your own skin to allow yourself to be close to someone like this without assuming the partner is “into you”

2.) you have to TRUST the lead to be clear in his directions and he’s got to TRUST that you can respond to his lead

3.) make sure you smell good (as best as you can be) when you sweat and don’t be thrown off when your dance partner is all sweaty.  It goes with the territory.  If you have issues with that…you may as well stay off the dance floor.  I’m just sayin’.

I particularly enjoy the Balboa because I work very hard on the ability to FOLLOW the lead…you can’t look down in this dance at ALL and you have to really put your trust in his direction on the floor.  What I think I like the most is realizing that I’ve come a LONG way to be able to handle being so close to someone AND I’m actually comfortable with my own ability as a dancer.  I know I’m not the best, but I certainly can handle being led.  🙂  That’s a big deal to me.

So, you may wonder how this relates to the dating/courtship thing: or you may understand profoundly where I’m going with this.  In the pursuit of a life partner, it’s a LOT like dancing:

1.) you gotta be comfortable in your own skin

2.) you need to be able to TRUST the person you’re hanging out with and you have to TRUST yourself

3.) you need to be CLEAR in your intentions (both as a gentleman AND a lady)

4.) smile, relax and HAVE A GOOD TIME.

I haven’t been on the dance floor for the past 3 weeks and truthfully, it’s killing a part of my soul (dramatic, I know, but true) and considering my back hasn’t been in working order the last 2 weeks, that may be a viable reason to stay away.  I know I need to get out there again soon before I lose my mind, but it’s good to take breaks and see what the lessons are.  I’ll definitely keep blogging on dancing, but that will have to come in time when I revisit that part of my world.  Until then, I guess I’ll be dancing in my dreams.

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