My husband, with his goofy smile and earnest heart, was trying so hard to count to the music and step in the right direction at the right time. His clammy hands revealed how hard he was trying. His grin was pervasive, and his easy-going spirit emanated strongly with every step.
Still, I couldn’t stop laughing. We knocked knees only a couple of times. It wasn’t really that funny. Perhaps it was nervous laughter. I’ll admit, I didn’t really want to be there.
Last night, Dan and I had a lesson at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, a client of mine. It wasn’t our deep desire to learn ballroom dance. But Evan Mountain, the wonderful owner of this beautiful studio, asked me to immerse in what he has to offer if I am to truly understand my client. And he is 100% right.
So we signed up, did one lesson, then ducked away for, like, several months. We blamed it on travel and family busy-ness and that is all true, but I think we didn’t really want to dance.
And why is that?
I don’t know – putting ourselves out there, maybe? But the thing with dancing together is that you have to put down your text messages and put down your distractions and look each other in the eye. You have to feel the person’s clammy palms or fast-beating heart or knocking knees and be in that moment together, for better of for worse.
So you might say that engaging in ballroom dance lessons as a couple is a sure way to cement your relationship. Or to put you in the midst of any awkwardness in the relationship that you might have been avoiding.
Lately, Dan’s been traveling and we’ve had a flurry of Jewish holidays and there are kids everywhere, all the time. Life just takes you over. Being in the thick of raising a family, the relationship between us takes a back seat. We all know the story well. But perhaps it’s the story we really want to be living.
How can we juggle all of the conflicting, competing elements of our lives, really? It’s no easy task. And I admit, I do more than most with my days. I don’t know how I do it either.
So last night, we were back in each other’s embrace, under dance teacher Jordan’s smiling gaze, moving to the beat from the speakers. Fred Astaire is a glorious place to be, and I’m not saying that because they are a client. It was dark already when we arrived for our lesson but the lights on the parquet shone with a beckoning warmth.
When I hear music, I can’t help but fall into the rhythm; it opens my heart in a way that nothing else does. It moves through you and between you and interweaves the people in that room, under the beat, inside the beat, until you just forget all the competing desires and demands of the day.
We did pretty well, I think. We somehow remembered from our first distant lesson the box step and the fox trot and last night we stepped it up to waltz-worthy. It was fun. Although I didn’t really want to go (my sweats and TV reruns and bed early seemed so much more enticing before we got there!), I’m so glad we did.
We ended up laughing together. That’s the best medicine in the world. We moved in sync, mostly. It was fun. It was fun.
I have to admire my client; Evan and his wife Lada are so dedicated, and so in love with the work they do. The world of ballroom dance is glamorous and glorious and freeing.
It’s also a tough business – how do you lure people into the studio when people like me have so many reservations and obstacles to just stepping onto the dance floor? I mean, ask me to attend the group class, and I will give you 12 quick reasons why not. No thanks. I am too nervous. I don’t want to put myself out there.
But what would happen if I tried it? What if I wore a dress that twirled and heels and let go, really let go, and swirled around the dance floor and closed my eyes and imagined, well, nothing, other than that moment and the ease of the air through my hair as the music played?
If they’re selling freedom, they won’t have any obstacles to success. And that’s really what dancing is all about.