In a couple of weeks, the studio will be celebrating their opening. Kid T tells me it was eight years ago which seems about right. I have been dancing longer than that since I was doing it with my wife for a couple of years at the old place before the ugly split in our local Famous Franchise universe. Still, eight years! I guess this is what happens when you don’t have a plan. You just go day to day and suddenly you’ve been dancing for eight freaking years!
Yeah, its made me a little reflective. (Oh, as if you need an excuse to be introspective!) If you had told me that first day when we walked through the door and OwnerGuy (who was just DanceInstructorGuy at the time) walked up to us to start the lesson that I’d still be doing it all these years later… Well, I don’t really know what I would have said because nobody knew the future. It might be fun to go back to that moment and ask but we can’t do that just yet.
It does bring up the whole journey vs destination which is a common theme of mine. What drives me to continue and what do I hope to get out of this?? I’ve written in the past that dance met a need I didn’t know I had. Over the years, I’ve learned more about who I am and have become more comfortable that I was an INFP trying to live life as an INTP for many years. It worked but it never really made me happy. Dance has given me that artistic outlet that I’ve always really needed but never really knew that I needed. It is why it feels like this is something I should have been doing my whole life.
And there is the social aspect of it. As the boss at work, I can be friendly with my staff but there are always going to be lines. Sometimes they get blurred and fuzzy but when you have some control over another person’s life, it creates subtle barriers. And, I’ve never really fit in with the rest of the manager’s there so my friend list at work is pretty short. Dancing gives me an opportunity to meet people in a different setting and it meets another need. Someday, I’ll have to do a post on social introverts because there are way too many cartoons about us hiding in our rooms and avoiding people. But that is not a universal truth. I don’t hate people. I do hate forced interactions and banal small talk but being with people I know and like is a good thing. The difference is that I have limits on how much socialization I can deal with.
Why am I rambling about this stuff? Well, I’m just trying to say that, for me, there are other real benefits to dancing. When I grow frustrated with my lack of progress or with other things at the studio, it is these aspects of it that I draw on and it is these things that keep me coming back.
When it comes to the talent and ability, I get that I’m on the flatter part of the curve. Each increase in ability comes at a greater and greater cost in time and effort. I think I’m approaching the limits of what I can do. I feel like I’m the guy on Dancing with the Stars who ends up getting stuck at 8’s with an occasional 9. Like there is always something missing that I can never seem to master. When I try to reach inside and find some extra gear, it just isn’t there. But I probably would hang around a little bit longer than expected because I think the people would like me. Eventually, the lack of talent wins out and I’d be voted out long before the final.
Assume that is true, can I live with that and are the other parts of dancing enough to keep me going. For now, the answer is yes. How long it remains yes is hard to say. If the day ever comes when I hear a Viennese Waltz on the radio and I don’t automatically feel happy because I can just imagine myself flying around a dance floor, then it would mean I’ve probably gotten all I’m going to get and it would be time to think about moving on.
Well let’s close with a brief recap of the lessons last night.
Went back over the open Rumba and open Swing with Kid T. Those seem to be locked and loaded into my muscle memory since all the parts came back relatively quickly. What is good news is that the parts in both that I struggled with came easier. But doing the steps correctly is not quite the same thing as dancing so, while I’m happy that things are coming along, I’m not going to put them in a win column until after Showcase when I get some feedback.
The Quickstep with Sunny was OK. She had talked with OwnerGuy to fix some of the parts we were struggling with. He even showed up to watch and immediately wanted me to extend my frame even more and lift my sternum more than I was doing. This is both good and bad. It is good because he can fix things. But it is bad because it is just another reminder that my progress will be limited working with Sunny because she just doesn’t have the depth of knowledge he does. It is why I’m not really that concerned with making the Quickstep technically perfect (which I think is Sunny’s goal). I’m doing this more for fun and entertainment just because I don’t think we’ll ever have a championship level Quickstep. There are just certain iconic Quickstep moves that require jumping and my knees are not built to do that.
Oh, I also had another payment due last night. So, on top of being reminded of just how long I’ve been doing this, I got a reminder of how much money I’ve spent doing this. I’m sure to the seriously goal oriented types, it must seem silly to have devoted this much time and money when I’m not really a serious contender at any comp. They want to see the destination while I continue to be more focused on the journey. So it goes.