I had to make another payment last night. Ballroom isn’t free. I sometimes think about how much I must have spent over the years but then another part of me doesn’t want to know. I suspect it would be hard for a lot of people to understand why some of us continue to do this for years at a time. I mean what do you really get out of it. What is the return on the investment?
Yes it is fun. Well, sometimes it is fun. A lot of times it is just hard work. You practice a routine hundreds of times just to have a minute or so in the spotlight. Does it really even out? Certainly, there are cheaper ways to have fun.
People dance for different reasons so I’m only really speaking for myself here but there are just those moments that ballroom provides. Something that I can’t explain with just words because you’d have to be in my mind feeling it with me. Which would be kind of scary because you’d see what else is rolling around in there. It is just those moments when you are in the zone and the moves just come naturally and almost without any real effort. When you don’t have to think about what step comes next and you and your partner are in sync and you just glide around the floor. Sometimes it is like the rest of the world just falls away and all that matters is the dance and the music.
And I know I’ve touched on this before but I keep coming back to it because it is those moments you live for. Or at least I live for. In one way, it sounds like some kind of addiction. Like it hits certain parts of your brain and lights them up in a way that other activities don’t. So you keep coming back to chase that high. Is that really what I’m paying for? I don’t know but sometimes that’s kind of how it feels.
Of course, the problem is that getting to that state isn’t easy. You first learn a step and it feels clunky and awkward and it just makes you feel like you are wasting your time and money because you’re never going to be able to get it down. Well, I should say that’s often how it makes me feel. Your feelings may very.
And, even when you’ve reached a point where you’ve got the steps down, you also have to start picking up and learning all the other things that go with it. Weight changes, body rotation, shaping, etc. Because those don’t just look nice, they are the language you have to use to communicate to your partner what you are trying to do and what you’d like them to do. It all has to be automatic because if you have to stop and think about what comes next, you break the flow of the dance and you create that start/stop thing which doesn’t feel good to anyone.
And I went through all of this because I’m right back in that awful awkward phase. There are several reasons why. One is the long layoff (thanks virus). But a lot of it is trying to establish a connection with a new instructor. Plus, my instructor is kind of learning these steps as we go as well. That’s not meant as a slam – it is just the reality. She doesn’t have a lot of experience with the Silver level stuff.
Which means there is very little that goes smoothly. Since I can’t see myself dance (and even if I could, I’d be too critical to be objective), I end up relying only on how something feels. I know that is not really the best measure and I kind of have to stop doing it but it is hard not to. Probably just those parts of my brain that want the hit calling out because it isn’t happening.
In some ways, starting with a new instructor/partner is like two people meeting who don’t speak the same language. Or maybe they just have a few common words that they both know. Somehow, you have to figure out how to communicate with that person.
And, OwnerGuy is taking the staged approach which I know is the right thing. So the first thing is to learn the steps. I know this. But two people doing steps isn’t really the same thing as dancing. Technically, it is but it doesn’t light up any part of me. The real thing is getting beyond the steps and learning how to lead them. Yes, he does touch on those things from time to time.
At the end of the day, it is a process. And it is a process that works. I know this. I’ve gone through this before with other instructors. You have to trust the process and not get frustrated over what appear to be lack of results. Really, I have to calm down whatever parts of my brain want that hit and just focus on the repetition and work to make it happen. Its a cliche, but you have to trust the process and let it work.
Yes, I’m paying money for this. In the end, it will be worth it. When you have an off night, it sometimes seems hard to explain why you are paying for this. But you keep coming back. Or at least I do.