Got My (Social) Dance Skills Back

I caught the dance bug in college at a dance party where people started doing swing dance. I was bummed that I couldn’t participate so I resolved to take one of the social dance classes at Stanford. I took beginner and intermediate Social Dance, and also took more advanced classes to hone my swing and hustle skills. After college, I continued to go to the dance scene at Stanford.

As the years went by, I went dancing less and less until I hadn’t gone for years. Even when I had opportunities, I couldn’t go because I couldn’t find my dance shoes.

Last month, a friend told me she was going to take dance classes at a dance studio not too far from my apartment. I figured it would be fun to take dance with friends, so I signed up for Intermediate East Coast Swing and Intermediate Cha Cha. I went shopping for new dance shoes but my friend told me that they weren’t required at the ballroom.
During the first class, I wore tennis shoes. I had so completely forgotten how to dance that I couldn’t even remember the basic steps of EC Swing was triple-step triple-step rock-step! If dancing was talking, I was stuttering on the dance floor. It was so pathetic. I felt so bad for my partners. I felt out of my league.

In the cha cha class, I couldn’t even get the basic steps there either. The instructor had to pull me aside to go through the steps. He asked me if I had ever taken cha cha. Yes, I did, but it was years ago and I forgot how to do it.

Before the second class tonight, I was more prepared. I had found my dance shoes. I also trimmed my fingernails so I didn’t have to worry about scratching my dance partners. Having the dance shoes helped me move better on the dance floor, especially when spinning. With short nails, I didn’t have to worry about hurting my partners. Those two things improved the experience for me.

I remembered more of the swing stuff so I had a better time in the class. I was still unsure of the cha cha steps, so my friend went through it with me. I felt lost at the beginning of the class and regretted signing up for cha cha. In the middle of class, I finally got it and ended up having a better time. The instructor also didn’t have to help me out individually during class.

As I left the dance place to go home, I felt really great. It’s so fun to dance when I can go through the patterns. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I made a huge improvement from the previous class. There’s also that positive feeling that results from physical activity. Plus I liked the music that was playing in the car as I drove home.

They say it’s like riding a bicycle… you never forget. Well, last week I rode a (borrowed) bicycle for the first time in about 3 years and I also struggled with it. I almost gave up but forced myself to practice until I got it. Part of the problem is that I’m used to bikes with hand brakes and it freaked me out to brake by back pedaling.

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