I made major progress at my ballroom dancing lesson this week. Well, I always learn something exciting. Among other things, the lessons are built around a curriculum of foot patterns, kind of like ice skating “school figures.” You practice what you’ve learned and build on it with new steps. This week, we were working on the Foxtrot. My teacher, Sean, is consummately elegant, patient, professional, and fun; and I try to remember what I’ve learned from one week to the next.
But you have to understand — it’s a presentation from the moment you step onto the edge of the floor, all through the dance, to the moment you step off the floor or sit down. Up to now, I’ve felt like I was clumping out onto the floor, where Sean then pushed, pulled, and dragged me around. Something was missing — I knew I just didn’t look like those professional ballroom dancers. Duh!
This week, I found out why. I got my dancing shoes! Lovely tan satin, open-toed, 2 1/2″ heels with suede soles. They made an immediate difference, as my feet now looked lifted and pretty. Then Sean taught me posture. This is how he explained it — you have to tense and hold back your shoulder blades as if you’re lifting weights. Then, you raise your arms with no tension, as if you’re sprawling back onto a sofa. You also try to touch the back of your collar with your neck. Try it! Suddenly, magically, everything falls into line, and you look elegant. I felt light as a feather, I could feel Sean’s leads better, and he didn’t have to drag me around.
But here’s the catch. It’s hard to keep doing it! When I watch the “Ballroom Bootcamp” show on tv, the beginning students are always complaining that their bodies hurt. Now I know why.
I think everybody should learn ballroom dancing. It’s good physical exercise. It’s intellectually engaging. It’s fun. It’s social. It’s artistic. Dance on!