R and I went to our first ballroom dance class last night. I had seen the announcement in the community ed flyer way back before the New Year's dance, and after I creamed his toes a few times that night, it seemed like it might not be a bad a idea to take a class. Besides, I really do love to dance and I have never in my life had a partner who was willing or able to go dancing with me....so when there was a chance to spend five Sunday nights in the cold mid-winter doing something related to dancing...well how could I pass that up! And R, being the sweet, agreeable guy that he is was willing to go along for the ride.
So last night found us and about twenty-five other couples of all ages and description nervously milling around the decrepit grade school gym making small talk while we waited for Harry the instructor to finish getting everyone checked in. Harry, it is clear, has been teaching ballroom for a long time! His first step was to put us in two long lines, guys on one side, women on the other across from our partners. All in all, the women looked much happier to be there than the guys, some of whom looked like they would have been happier having root canals. He told the guys, "Your job is to lead" and us, "Your job is to follow" and had us all repeat that. We all laughed of course. Then he taught the basic box step of the waltz and we went to work practicing. I immediately failed "follow." We all knew I would. I had warned R of that before the New Year's dance...and proved it. And last night I proved it again. OK, so I have control issues....even on the dance floor! But after a while I relaxed and started to trust his lead. He really can count to three! Who knew!?! And we began to if not exactly glide around in our little circle, at least to do something that remotely resembled a waltz.
Some of our neighbors were not so fortunate. The couple to my right were struggling mightily. They were both having a hard time with the whole business, but at least they were having fun. We laughed and talked with them about the advisability of bringing something a little stronger in our sports bottles next week to loosen our feet. The couple to my left were not doing too well, either. Unfortunately they were not having fun. She in particular was taking it all very seriously, and she was ragging on that poor man to beat the band. Sadly, she reminded me of a not so long ago version of myself. Uptight and perfectionistic and controlling.
So dance class was instructional for more than my feet. It was a good reminder that I need to remain conscious about who I choose to be, who I really am. Oh, I could be that lady on my left. Not for long of course, because someone I love very much would probably raise an eyebrow at me in that way of his, and I would remember just who it is I am, he is and we are, and I would slip back into the real safety of now and not need the illusion of security that trying to control it all gives me. So dance frame ready, the music begins....and off we go.