Dance as a cure for winter blues

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So how great was last night’s lesson?  It didn’t even bother me that it was still snowing on the way home long after the weather service said it was going to stop.  When it goes well, dancing really takes me to a different place and it becomes easy to just forget about everything else for a little while.

Last night we finished the Bolero routine so I now know what the steps are and can see the whole thing from start to finish.  There is something about the Bolero that I just really love but I can’t find the right words to express it.  This does drive the logical analytical part of me crazy because there must be a reason and I should be able to figure it out.  It could be that I’m actually turning off the analytical part and just going with the feel of the dance because the Bolero has a waltz like flow but without a lot of the formality and stiffness of the waltz.  She’s thrown in enough different variations that the look changes quite a bit during the routine.  We do some parts out of frame where we move sort of in opposition to each other and we have some spots in shadow position so it all just flows nicely and it feels really good doing it.  Now, this is just setting the foundation because there is still a lot to do to make it look pretty.  I’m watching her do some extra hip moves and she makes it look effortless as you’d expect from a real pro.  I don’t expect to be anywhere close but it will force me to do a little more to keep up with her.  We haven’t touched too much on arm styling yet but I know that’s coming.  But I can see where this can go so it will be fun to work on.

The two most memorable parts are what I will call the spin and the cuddle.  She worked in a spin for me.  This seems to be a common theme since there are two in the swing routine.  This is all new territory for me as a guy and don’t have a lot of experience so there are balance issues.  My first response to seeing it was “what were you thinking” but I’m trying to keep an open mind so I pushed that negative thought aside and just gave it a shot.  It is rough and needs work but I got through it a couple of time.  Towards the end of the lesson, we were doing a run through and her husband stopped his lesson to watch (they do that from time to time).  We got to the spin and she got really excited and made some comment to him and told me later that he thought there was no way I would agree to do the spin.  (Yes, I can be totally stubborn about steps I don’t like so my reputation is well earned and will take time to redo).

Then, the step that she called the cuddle.  Which was really nothing more than a couple of side rocks but with us being extremely close together.  Given the nature of the dance, this is expected but I still have my personal space issues and some left over mental bad body image things and I’m probably a little inhibited so this kind of thing still presents some difficulty for me because it feels awkward and then I think it looks bad and on and on.  She, of course, seems to revel in my discomfort and I’m sure that’s why she put this into the routine and she loves to make a big deal out it which only serves to increase the awkwardness of the moment.  But, I also know this is part of capturing the look of the dance so it is a necessary evil that I just have to deal with.  Part of the attraction to dance is that it does push me outside my comfort zone – sometimes it pushes me way outside my comfort zone so even though it is awkward and somewhat embarrassing, I can manage.

I guess things must have gone well because she was giving me high fives at the end of the lesson.  And, a couple times during it, she made some remarks about my leading skills.  She liked the way I was leading a particular step and then said something like “when you want to lead, you really know how to do it”.  Which might be a backhanded compliment but I’ll take it anyway.  I know as an instructor that she is used to backleading and that still goes on but I also know there are times when she really gets focused on her part and is just reacting to me so it means a lot to hear that I’m doing something right with respect to leading.

All in all, it was a great lesson and it was a nice escape from the nasty winter weather that was just outside the studio.  We have more snow in the forecast but it is supposed to be out of the way by rush hour meaning that it shouldn’t keep me from my lesson tonight.  Hope that turns out to be the case because after a good lesson, I always want to get back to the studio right away and keep the momentum going.


  1. I’m glad you’re experimenting with turning off the analyst and just feeling the dance. Dance is amazing for pushing us outside our comfort zones. Can you think of things that you do now that at the beginning you would never thought you would do?I bet there’s a few!

    1. In each one of these new routines, there are several places where my first reaction has been “You want me to do WHAT?”. I know that if the analyst took over, he’d find a whole lot of reasons why I couldn’t do those steps. None of them would be true because I’m finding that I can do these things. So I have to stay focused on keeping him out of the picture.

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