Hey dancers,

I am so thrilled! This past Friday, I finally had my first lesson in four years!

Okay, I lied a little bit. So maybe technically it wasn’t my first lesson in four years. In the spirit of full disclosure, I had one last month with a wonderful instructor that a couple of my friends dance with. He was a great guy and completely knowledgeable, only his style of teaching didn’t totally mesh with my style of learning. On the up hand, I found out in that lesson that I have good feet. Not sure when that happened; I don’t recall ever having had good feet on my first go-around. Or, well, ever. But I digress.

I contacted an instructor I’d had as visiting coach a couple times. He was a nice guy, we always got along great, I loved how he taught, and the one student I remember him working with for a prolonged period of time is now dancing amateur and she’s doing well.

We scheduled a lesson and met up for it Friday afternoon. Even though I hadn’t seen him in forever, nothing had changed. We still got along swimmingly and had a great time working. He had me dance cha cha, samba, rumba, and jive (I’d never done paso doble) so as to check my memory and gauge my movement.

My movement was okay (to me – I remembered times where these dances were more in my body, but it’s been a while so I’ll let that go for now) and memory wasn’t as bad as I thought. I remembered almost all the names of the syllabus steps he threw at me. But I couldn’t keep balance on spot turns. Oops.

So he started making his mental notes. And then he asks me if I’ve ever done paso doble. “Nope.” He asks, “Want to talk about it?” My response: “YEAH!” Paso is my favorite dance! So we went right into it. The first thing he taught me was the posture.

Instant disorientation. He took me through some shape and level changes and just started laughing at me because my face was so screwed up in concentration. We started a routine, which in itself was exciting to me; it’s something I’ve never done before that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I’m actually liking the challenge. Every time I put myself into this paso posture and feel like I have been put into a pretzel and made to walk with my right arm and left leg, I make myself think of this:

I once watched this dance, noticed Mr. Hough do this, and my jaw fell into the basement. WHAT KIND OF PERSON CAN EVEN DO THAT?! I don’t even feel like my hips go forward, I feel like I have no shape at all and this guy looks like a fully drawn bow.

So I use this as a visual aid to tell myself that I have no excuses, because our teachers always tell us that our favorites, the greatest dancers were all once at the point that we are now.

You know that in your mind, but at the same time, it’s hard to wrap your head around that kind of newness. Dancers, what made you feel, for lack of a better word, inadequate when you learned it? Frame? Cuban motion? Heel turns? Maintaining eye contact? How did you move past it?


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