I discovered the love of ballroom dancing when I was a teenager.
Dancing became my life and I lived in the studio while I wasn’t at school. I’m pretty sure this is how I survived those difficult years.
Dancing lessons were expensive and my parents had other priorities so they would not pay for lessons for me. I became creative about how to continue my weekly dance lessons. The studio had a new member introductory rate. So, anytime I recruited someone to sign up for the introductory package, I received a free lesson.
I introduced almost my entire high school to ballroom dancing. This is how I financed my lessons for the rest of my senior year of high school without paying a single penny.
By the end of the year, my instructor and the owner of the studio wanted me to compete and become a teacher at the studio. My parents would not give their permission. I was crushed and put that dream to rest.
My marriage to a man who didn’t dance and my next partner who supported me in watching meant I didn’t pursue dancing anymore. The time and comittment required would take time from relationships I was involved in, even if partners didn’t dance either.
So, I surprised myself by attending a ballroom dancing studio for the first time in years the other night. Just to see how much I remembered, or this is what I told myself. No longer married, months after a difficult break-up from an 8 year relationship, and single for the first time in 23 years, I found myself asking, “Who am I? What do I want to do for ME?”
This is how I came to attend an Arthur Murray Dance Studio lesson. My instructor was young, fit, short like me, and spunky. He was impressed with everything I remembered. Apparently the body doesn’t forget certain teachings that are conditioned into muscle memory.
The teachers were touchy, loving, fun to dance with, and made me feel like a million bucks… the men, the women, and all the genders in between. The most impressive and important part of this for me was the inclusivity of the studio. All genders dancing with any gender. There was no set expectation of man with woman as in most traditional ballroom dancing studios. It felt so safe.
The flying across the floor, the energetic high, the oxytocin, the peace, the touching, the music, and the everything. After a few hours of dancing and remembering, every part of my body was thoroughly exhausted in a wonderful way. I was smiling, laughing, and feeling every moment with no thought of the next. This was living in the moment.
This is when I realized dancing like like all relationships, it is truly about CONNECTION.
I signed up for lessons that night. I might perform in February. Maybe I’ll be the dance teacher I always wanted to be.
Of course I’ll be coming back…
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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