Nine Years Ago

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Tonight is the studio’s anniversary party.  Right around this time nine years ago, Z and OwnerGuy opened up their studio.  So I’m going to take a little trip down memory lane.  I remember the opening night.  My wife and I were the only guests in attendance.  She had started to wind down her dance life but still wanted to be there to show support.  She even sent some flowers for congratulations.

We had  worked with OwnerGuy for a couple of years at another Famous Franchise location when he was just TeacherGuy.  We developed a good relationship.  And I had been working with Z for a couple of months at the old location because my wife was getting out and I was still interested and dancing with OwnerGuy felt a little strange.  But we liked both of them and the whole Famous Franchise experience was still so new and we wanted them to succeed so we came out just to dance and have some fun.

It’s been a very interesting nine year journey.  I’ve lost track of the number of instructors that have come and gone through that time.  There are a few like me that have been there since the beginning but there have been many more who stayed for a brief time before moving on.  I’ve danced with five different instructors over that period.  There were times when there were many instructors and times when there were just a few.  There have been periods of stability where the core group of students and instructors remained the same.  And periods of upheaval and change with comings and goings.  And still I remain.

I’ve changed physically – with the weight loss.  You know the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on since a lot of it played out in these pages.  I suppose I was guilty of what a lot of students have been guilty of – forgetting that it is still a business and that your teacher is probably not your friend.  I’ve gone from skipping Showcases to mostly looking forward to them.

I do sometimes wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t gone to that first Big Dance Event.  Or if I had been truly prepared for what was going to happen to me there.  I had reached a point where my ego had sort of taken over.  I was having great times at Showcases and figured I was better than I was.  But take the big fish in a small pond and toss him into the ocean and you suddenly find out there are lots of bigger fish out there.  Would I still be struggling with confidence if I had stuck to Showcases and just focused on routines and performance?

Not going to rehash the thing with Z other than to say it changed a lot.  Maybe that was the true end of the innocence.  When you were going to the Big Dance Events and were truly the big fish, they both made you feel special.  When I had to break away, I got shuffled to the corner where I still reside on most days.  It might have been easier to leave but I think there is some part of me that didn’t want to leave because it would have meant they broke me.  Well, it probably wouldn’t have meant that but maybe that’s what I’ve decided to think.

The people make the studio a  great place to be.  I don’t have much in common with these folks and we don’t socialize outside of the studio but we all have a good time when we are there.  Its like seeing old friends every day.

But the main reason to go is the dance and I know I’ve improved.  I’ve done so many different routines to various dances that I probably won’t be able to name them all.  I know I’ve done a Rumba, a Fox Trot, two Viennese Waltzes, two Quicksteps, two Argentine Tangos, two Two-Steps, a Shuffle, a West Coast Swing, a Mambo, a Peabody, and two Country Waltzes.  I’ve gotten to dress up and perform and dance in front of a crowd which is a big thing.  And I’ve learned so many steps in so many dances that I’ve certainly lost track of them all.

For all the anxiety and doubt and fear and demons that dance kicks up, the good parts far outweigh the bad.  I stay because ballroom makes me feel alive and it is a part of me that I can’t imagine being without.  So now on to year 10.

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