Absolute Beginners

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When I got to Studio B last night, I caught the end of a new beginner’s ballroom group class that had just started that day.  This seems to be the thing for Studio B.   They tend to focus on these group classes that run for a certain number of weeks so you get some continuity and there is some commitment required on the part of the participant.  But you aren’t locked into a long term thing like the Famous Franchise.

As I was watching the group class, it seemed like these beginners were being pushed a little more than new students at the Famous Franchise.  But that makes some sense.  In the group class setting, you got a fixed number of lessons to get people to a certain level so you have to move.  The first lesson at the Famous Franchise is primarily designed to make you feel happy and welcomed and sell you dreams of the dancer you’ll become along with a block of lessons.  Different models for different needs.  So it was nice to see the floor occupied even though it mostly cleared off when Mindy and I had our lesson.  On the one hand, it is nice to have the entire floor but it always feels a little strange to be dancing in an empty studio.  Maybe it is just my Famous Franchise upbringing but it just feels right when a dance studio is full of people even if it constricts your floor space.

There was something good about watching a class full of beginners.  I have my perpetual struggle with self-confidence and it can be hard for me to see, believe and accept that I have made significant progress in my dance journey.  (Even writing that feels a little off to tell you the truth) But I watch people struggle with the basics and run into each other and trip each other a bit and it is hard to believe that I started there.  Clearly, I did but it just seems like a lifetime ago.  It is nice to be reminded of where you started.  Beginners can also be fun to watch because, even as they struggle, you can see some of the faces and smiles.  Everyone comes for different reasons but taking that first step is the hardest and sometimes you can clearly see how happy they are to have taken that step.  There’s a lot of stuff that comes with dancing and this is just a passage back to the time when it was much more innocent because you didn’t know what you didn’t know.

All of the tables were occupied so I dropped my stuff at one that had an empty seat.  When the people came off the floor, I got to engage is a small conversation with the two people who had put their stuff at the same table.  They weren’t a couple.  The lady had heard the instructor talk about getting into harder stuff and she was asking how much harder it could get.  If only she knew!!  I had to inwardly chuckle a bit at that comment.  I told her that they’d probably get into ways to turn around because they were just learning how to move down one side where they’d have to stop.  So she says to me “Do you know the Fox Trot?”  Another little chuckle to myself.  I said I knew a bit and the guy then says he’s seen me dance so he knows I know the Fox Trot.  I really couldn’t place this guy.  I don’t know if he was at a party or an event or where he would have seen me dance.  Probably saw me with Hilde and I guess we can be kind of showy.

The lesson itself was good.  I’m going to have to get back to writing down some of the tips and suggestions.  I was doing a walk through myself while Mindy finished with the group and trying to remember what she told me about certain parts.  I can at least visualize the majority of the routine now and know which parts can still hang me up.  I was focused on those dang slows and then secondly focusing on keeping my body towards her without looking at her.  In some parts, I had to look where I was going to make sure I was doing the step correctly so I had to try to remember to keep my eyes and head where it needed to be.  There are parts that are moving better and there are still some places where I get hung up but it will definitely be ready for Showcase which I believe is sometime in May.




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