It can be hard to dance with only two left feet.
There was a man with two left feet, a big man, a giant man, a man who didn’t really know who he was. He woke up one day, as if from some dream, and went to learn dancing. To this day he still doesn’t know what made him turn up to that first class. He knew he had two left feet, knew he wouldn’t get very far, but maybe he could learn a few things, even just a few little things would be a lot. He didn’t know what to expect, he didn’t know it would change him, he didn’t realize that sometimes learning the simplest of skills can make a man more than the sum of those skills.
So this man with the two left feet went to class, ignorant, innocent and insecure, and that very first night learnt a lesson. A man with two left feet can still keep the beat, still keep the rhythm, yes even a man with two left feet can be taught to keep time. So the man with two left feet learnt the basic steps, forward and backwards, side to side, right, left, right, and away he went. Three nights a week he practiced and he learnt, and after a few weeks the man with two left feet had rhythm in his belt. Sure he couldn’t dance but he could keep time, not such a bad skill to learn.
So this man with two left feet kept going to class, shy, sheepish and skittish, and over the next few weeks learnt a new lesson. A man with two left feet may trip and stumble but he can still direct his partner, still open the way for her to move, yes even a giant with two left feet can move his body and arms and show her where he wants her to be. So the man with two left feet learnt some simple moves, left and right, spin around, down then up and hold her right and away he went. Four nights he practiced now, as much as time would allow, and after a month the man with two left feet had leading in his pack. Sure some poor ladies had squashed toes but he could give them the opportunity to spin, not such a bad skill to learn.
So this man with two left feet went out social dancing, daring, dashing and drenched in sweat was he, yet another lesson was his to learn. A man with two left feet, this towering man can still learn to stand tall. Even though he lacked the nerve, women from around the room asked him to dance, beautiful women, lithe women, young and old. He didn’t know this then but today’s beginners are tomorrow’s veterans and the smart women were testing his metal. So the man with two left feet learnt acceptance and confidence, “Would you like to dance?”, “I wish I could dance like you one day.”, “Thank you for a wonderful time.” Five nights straight he danced now, that he was hooked none could debate and after three months this was his crowd. Sure he didn’t know everyone yet but it felt like a home away from home and that’s not such a bad thing to learn.
So this man with two left feet went to his first festival, fevered, frenzied, furied, and still another lesson lay in that distant city. A man with two left feet still has ears and his heart still beats, yes even this hulking man can still hear and feel the music. You see music has a soul, its character, and what is a dance but the music penned in movement. So the man with two left feet learnt to hear with his heart and let it flow into his limbs. Sway to the rise, dip for the fall and hold until the crescendo. There wasn’t a day pass by that if he wasn’t dancing, he was thinking of dancing, and he wanted more, oh so much more. Sure he didn’t know all the songs yet but he was learning them, and feeling out the soul in music is not such a bad skill to have.
So this man often hears people say they can’t dance, that they have two left feet. He wonders about them, why they think that way, yet he remembers at some point he thought like that too. He suggests they come along anyway, just to learn a few skills. Maybe just learn to step to the beat; it’ll help in the night clubs. Maybe just learn how to hold a lady and let her shine; it’ll help with that special woman. Maybe get out there and make some friends; it’ll help make life more interesting. Perhaps even just learn to drift into a song and let it take you soaring away; it’ll help them relax on even the most stressful of days. He tells these left footed gentlemen, that as the giant he is and certainly no twinkle toes, that the ladies enjoy dancing with him and he is getting smoother by the day. Mostly though he hands them a business card for a good shoe store he knows, a store that sells both left and right shoes.
*A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. The Modern Minstrel observes the world around him and shares it with us as lyrical story. This series was inspired by Luke Davis, whose eye for story and ear for lyrical prose are featured here.
Also by Luke Davis
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