My lesson as seen from the other side

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A couple of notes from last week that I forgot to talk about. Wednesday, before our lesson, Z comes over and says “I guess we have to talk”. This confused me for a minute because I had no idea where she was going but it turns out that OwnerGuy and maybe 3 of 3 had convinced her that I was mad at her for missing our lessons the week before. Yeah, cause I’m the kind of idiot who gets mad at someone for being sick. I had to think back to where this could have come up and I guess it was last Thursday when I came into the studio not knowing that Z was out and only finding out right before the lesson that I was working on Rumba and Hustle with OwnerGuy and 3 of 3. I described that lesson in detail in another post and let’s just say it was not a positive experience. I should mention that I would probably starve as a poker player since I can’t really control my facial expressions. I don’t usually talk about things but it can be pretty easy to read me and at least know I’m not enjoying the experience.
But I explained to Z that in no way was I mad at her. I had to explain that the only thing that bothered me about the lessons is that it didn’t seem that there was a real plan. It was like OwnerGuy just pulled some things out of his nether regions a few minutes before the lesson. So I didn’t feel like I got much out those.
Well we started to talk about those lessons because she was under the impression that everything went well because that’s what she was told. So they interpreted my body language as anger towards Z and not the actual frustration I was feeling on those lessons. Perhaps I need to be more vocal so they get the point cause that clearly didn’t happen.
It was like we were on two different lessons. I felt like a failure since I was struggling to lead the Rumba and not really getting the concept OwnerGuy was trying to show me. 3 of 3 thought it all went well. I guess she was going on and on to Z about how good the lesson was. And I guess she’s not the type who would say that just to say it because there were problem lessons during the week but mine wasn’t one of them. Again, what lesson were they teaching??
Same thing with the Mambo. Z would say that they told her we learned something and I would say “Well, not so much” because OwnerGuy couldn’t figure out the steps from my notes even though they matched what Z had. So I walk away thinking those lessons were a waste of time and they come away thinking everything went great. Guess I’ll just assume the truth is somewhere in the middle and they weren’t as bad as I first thought.
Friday night was another open house for the studio where they kick open the doors and invite people in who aren’t currently students. They use it as an opportunity for people to bring friends in so it is more word of mouth than actual advertising so it usually doesn’t bring in a big crowd of newcomers. It does seem to bring in people who are just starting out but haven’t done a lot of groups or parties because they can be scary when you are new.
They always start these off with a giant group class where they do basic versions of the Fox Trot, Rumba, Hustle and Merengue and then open up the floor to give people an opportunity to actually dance. I was paired up with a relative newcomer who has just started but has only been to a few group classes. I think this is why they want me at those parties. It frees them up to deal with the couples who have a bigger chance of going wrong – you see a couple going against line of dance in a fox trot and you’ve got to act quickly to prevent disaster. So I danced the group with her and we just stayed together after that to do several dances in a row.
I don’t mind as I’ve said before because it does give me practice leading and newcomers generally haven’t developed a lot of bad habits. The only real awkwardness is the conversation which the introvert in me just can’t stand. Especially when people who are new find out (a) how long I’ve been dancing, (b) how far I drive to get to the studio and (c) that I do this on my own while my wife stays home. I’m not really sure what kind of impression that really leaves on people other than I usually get the “you must love to dance”.
The last dance of the night was a hustle so I got my partner for the night and there was another new couple who had stayed the whole time and was having a great time and so I motioned for them to join us. He had sort of forgotten which dance the hustle was so I just started him out “rock step, step, step” and just called it out and worked him though a couple of turns until he was on it. I’m assuming this is true of most studios but all of us who’ve been doing this awhile really don’t mind helping out the newcomers. We all remember walking through those doors the first day and most of us know how much fun this is and so we like to share the joy. Some of us introverts just aren’t as good at making first contact. Anyway, this couple was seriously into it. For some reason, the guy wanted to know about competitions and showcase and where it was – not sure if he wanted to go or wanted to watch but I told him to talk to an instructor. We’ll see if they continue. The cost sometimes outweighs the fun and excitement.
We are going on vacation next weekend to someplace with nothing but sun, warmth and beaches. But I’ve got another full slate of lessons this week so I should have some stories to share. And, you know me, I have trouble keeping quiet for long periods of time (well that’s writing – I avoid talking at all costs) so I might sneak something in on vacation if the spirit moves me.

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