What a Difference a Day Makes

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So let’s just start out by saying yesterday was, in fact, NOT a good day to dance. Yesterday was a terrible day to dance. Yesterday picked at a lot of my old wounds and opened up some of them. Yesterday had me questioning myself all the way on the drive home. Questions – like “what I am doing here”, “why do I continue to dance”, “am I really making any progress”. Whole lot of ugly self talk and doubt. If there is a silver lining in this cloud, it is that my confidence is a little better so I didn’t totally destroy myself on the drive home. Used to be my confidence in my abilities was a like a house of cards – easy to blow down and hard to rebuild. Its better now and after a day of reflection, I can see that a few things did go right even though in the heat of the moment it sure didn’t.
The day started off on a bad note for me as I get there and there is no sign of Z. All of the other instructors were busy and the receptionist didn’t offer any information. As OwnerGuy walks off his lesson, he tells me that Z is still sick and that he and 3 of 3 were going to be working with me on Hustle and Rumba. Oh, and by the way, my lesson with Z for tomorrow has also been moved to 3 of 3 in case Z is still sick. As I said, the Famous Franchise doesn’t guarantee you a specific instructor so they don’t have to inform you of any changes. Normally, they do but yesterday I guess it wasn’t deemed necessary.
Well the problem was that 3 of 3 had to talk with her students after their lesson and I guess there were problems getting them booked as the studio has just gone to a new system where all the bugs haven’t been ironed out. I should also mention that while the lessons are 45 minutes long, the Famous Franchise has a five minute caveat to allow for transition time. Normally, this is not an issue but it means they aren’t obligated to spend the entire 45 minutes with you. 3 of 3 went a little beyond the five minute rule which didn’t improve my mood much.
So we finally get started and OwnerGuy gives me the dreaded “Dance a little Hustle for me.” Dude, you were going to show me new stuff, why do you need to see my old stuff. In case you readers don’t know, I hate being asked to perform on demand. It makes my brain freeze up and I end up doing an endless series of basics or other simply moves because I forget everything else but also because the survival part of me says “stick to the easy stuff so you won’t mess up”. At one point, OwnerGuy starts calling out moves – which doesn’t help because I don’t know what half the steps are actually called because the names often don’t make sense or don’t really relate to the step. Well we get through that and he shows me two new steps which was good.
Then we get to the Rumba and he turns to me and says “lead her through it but she’s never done it”. WTF!! What is this, some kind of cruel test that I’m set up for complete failure. I tried and it ended as expected – with me not being able to lead certain parts and 3 of 3 making a guess at what I wanted and it being a complete mess. Then, my brain starts working overtime and into the whole “do I really know what I’m doing” part. Am I really a dancer or does Z just prop me up so much that I think I can do things that I really can’t. Am I just wasting my time here. In the end, I’m a dancer with some holes in my game. Kind of like the guy from Major League who could hit the fastball but not the curve and this felt like a batting practice section of being fed nothing but curve balls and flailing away but not connecting. Hard to really feel good about yourself after that. At some point, OwnerGuy takes over and finds one part where he wants to make a point and I try to lead that and I get the obligatory “nice job” from both of them. Sometimes, that is genuine and sometimes it feels like they are blowing smoke up your nether regions so you walk away feeling good. But I wasn’t in a mood to buy it just then.
I should have left right after that but I stuck around for group class because I really wanted to get to the party afterward. Group class is some nightclub dance that they’ve been doing every Thursday for several weeks. Nobody really likes it but it keeps showing up. For me, it is pointless. I don’t social dance so I really don’t want to invest the time in this slow, meandering pointless dance. And, it brought out the worst in me in terms of judging others. I mean it is really just rock-step, step over and over again, so WHY CAN’T YOU PEOPLE GET IT!!! Yeah, I feel bad about that now but I wasn’t in the best mood last night.
And party was no fun at all. I’ve ranted about the music choices before but it was the same mix of really bad songs – swings that fell between East Coast and West Coast or were single time, etc. Doing YMCA as a Hustle is fun the first time. Start doing it every week and gets played out pretty quickly. Just stop and give it a rest. Many of these songs are played week after week for a couple of months and then just drop off the face of the earth.
Well, I guess what it comes down to is that I know that this is a business and they need to make money. But the best part of this is that I usually don’t feel like an ATM where they just come up and siphon some money away. Last night was different. You knew Z wasn’t going to be there and you had a chance to plan but, other than having 2 hustle moves, you didn’t know my Rumba routine and you really didn’t have a plan on what to work on. So you could have offered me the chance to cancel but the lesson was kept on the books. I guess I could have been the a-hole customer and refused to sign since I didn’t get much out of it but I didn’t go there.
Guess we will see what tonight brings. It is a new day, right? And now I’m prepared for a lesson without Z. Have no idea what we’ll be working on but it can’t be any worse than last night.


  1. Wall – If my teacher became ill, and could not make a scheduled lesson, I would be told in advance and offered a different teacher. If I chose to cancel the lesson, that’s what would happen. I don’t dig the idea of ponying up $135 for a session with a teacher who doesn’t suit. Franchisees seem to have quite a bit of latitude re the rules they make…and some, it seems, are pretty nervy. I was told by a dancer I interviewed for my book that students at her studio are forbidden to take lessons elsewhere on pain of being asked to leave. To me, that’s way over the top. I wouldn’t put up with that in a million years.

    1. Agree. I think that for the most part, they do try but since I work with several instructors, they probably just assume they can shuffle lessons if needed.

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