Over the many years that I’ve been dancing, I’ve come to learn that ballroom can be a humbling experience. I’m pretty sure I’ve likened it to an infinite onion. There are so many layers and so much to keep working on. And it seems like every time I start to think that I’ve got this stuff down, something comes along to remind me that I still have a long way to go.
And maybe Kid T leaving was just another one of those things. I was getting to the point of thinking that I was all that and some force in the universe decided to show me that I wasn’t. It isn’t just thinking that you are better than you are. Dance has become part of my identity. I’ve got this thing in me that likes being a little different from the rest. So when other people were talking about their latest can’t miss TV show or the hottest movie, I was secretly like “well I don’t that because I’m at the studio almost every night”
The other problem with dancing is that it is a partner activity so how does one separate your skills from the partnership especially when you’ve been dancing with someone for a few years. Maybe it isn’t so much separating your abilities because maybe the combination is greater than the sum of the parts. This may sound a bit extreme but losing a partner (and teacher) is kind of like losing an arm or a leg. You have to learn to do things all over again. Or at least that is sometimes what it feels like.
Which may just be ballroom’s way of asking “How badly do you want it?”. I’m not going to be the same dancer with JoNY that I was with Kid T. In time, we might get back to something similar but it isn’t going to be the same. I’m not going to be the one at the next Showcase who gets all the attention. I’m not going to be the one people watch. Mostly, because I’m not going. But, even on lessons and parties, there are going to be struggles and things aren’t going to move as smoothly as the did with Kid T. They aren’t going to look as good or as polished or be as eye catching as they were with Kid T.
So, “How badly do you want it?” OwnerGuy is teaching me some different ways to lead things and it is difficult. More difficult than I expected. It involves specific weight changes and movements and things that I haven’t been doing. It is asking my body to do things that it isn’t used to. It is humbling. It is a series of body blows to my ego. Wait, I used to be a good dancer and now I feel like an absolute beginner.
The challenge for me is what it always is and that is finding the balance. I have enough data points to realize that I’m not completely without skills. So I’m can’t fall totally into that “you suck” hole because it isn’t true. But to move forward, it requires facing the fact that I’m going to struggle with what he wants me to do and it may take me some time to get it. And I have to be OK with that. I have to hold my ego in check to accept that there are things I need to learn to make the dancing better. But how badly do I want it?
If I’m going to continue, then it also means actually being committed to the new process. It isn’t that I’m sleepwalking through these lessons but I also know I’m not giving 100% effort. When faced with that whole awkward feeling of trying something new and potentially failing, I tend to find ways to try and deflect and stall and keep from doing it. But that will just make the learning curve longer and steeper.
We did have a lesson on Thursday. More work on the Swing and we got through the new combination of steps. Still fuzzy on the technique. Then, we did about 10 minutes of Waltz and got through after one false run. At the party, OwnerGuy sent JoNY over to grab me for a Rumba and we actually danced through most of the Rumba before the song ended. Small steps but all positive ones.
I did enjoy the party. It is the first one I’ve been to in a couple of weeks.
I’m still not entirely sure how this story ends. What I’m starting to see is that I may not have been giving it a fair chance the last couple of weeks. At the end of the day, it was fun dancing the Rumba with JoNY even if it wasn’t up the level of what I did with Kid T. And maybe that’s something else to keep in mind.
PS – This site crashed on me right before I finished this post. It was all saved but I’m not sure if that was some cosmic message about the content. None the less, I’m going to post it anyway. Geez – everyone’s a critic.