There was a young girl at the studio tonight. I would guess she was about twelve just from looking at her. I knew instantly that I had to go introduce myself, after all, that was me almost five years ago. I know that’s what I would have wanted if there had been someone like me at the studio when I first started. Someone who had been there, done that, someone I could relate to and possibly learn from.
We got to talk a little bit. She and her dad are taking swing lessons together. I complimented her footwork. She expressed how much fun she was having. I was asked to dance so our conversation ended and then she left the studio with her dad.
Just seeing her in the same sort of situation I was in a couple of years ago made me feel really nostalgic. Kind of the same way I felt when I realized the three teenagers visiting last Friday had been driven by their parents.
I remember a time when my mom, nanny, or brother would have to drop me up and pick me up at the studio. I remember how much waiting I did in the corner of the studio. Waiting for my late chauffer, waiting for someone to ask me to dance, waiting for someone to talk to me, waiting for the night to be over.
I don’t know when the shy, waiting version of me changed, but I’m so glad she did.
I have no idea what my life would be like now if I hadn’t continued taking lessons and attending group classes and parties at the studio. I do know that my life would feel so much emptier without the people I’ve met there. I also know I would have missed out on finding a true passion in my life in dancing. I also probably wouldn’t be certain I’d want to continue my studies at BU without my ballroom team waiting there for me. What else would I be doing with my Wednesday and Friday nights? What would I look forward to most when coming home for breaks from school? What would I do without a community to share my passion not only for dancing, but for sparkles and pretty nails?
Okay, I know I would have discovered a couple of those things on my own somehow, but my point is that I’m so incredibly grateful for the community I’ve become a part of the past 5 years. I don’t know how my life would be without my little safe haven, and I don’t know how it has changed me, but I’m glad I am the person I am. And I think I am that person in large part because of this studio and the people in it.
A partner should build you up rather than tear you down, right? Today, my latin dance teacher was talking about how it’s easier for a skilled male dancer to pull up a less skilled female dancer, and my partner looked directly at me. Not only was the look obnoxious, but he laughed when I feigned a hurt expression. That feigned expression turned real as soon as I realized that he, in fact, was not joking.
Excuse me? Yes, I know I’m not the best dancer out there and I have a lot of work to do to improve. BUT, I have been dancing for almost five and a half years, and been a very dedicated dancer this whole time. Yes, I only started competing last semester, BUT, that was because he asked me to. I had wanted to improve a bit more before even thinking about competing or finding a partner. I definitely didn’t think I was good enough to jump right in and compete at the silver level. But I did. Because I am a nice person and he needed a partner, and apparently thought I was good enough. Now, I am apparently not good enough. Which, frankly, is complete bullshit. He’s a fucking gold dancer now because of the competitions he has done with me. There is no way he could have done that by himself and he certainly wasn’t getting there with any other partner.
I have put up with a lot of shit without taking it personally or getting angry, but this is too much. I’m actually really tempted to stick by my earlier words and tell him to find another partner to dance with.
The above rant is regarding a dance partnership, but I think it should probably be the same in any relationship.
Last night I met a guy who does Blues dancing. He said he was interested in learning ballroom, so I told him when the BUBC had lessons. Maybe we can do a trade off….
Blues dancing looks like so much fun!
For other ballroom dancers out there, this website is part of the creation process for a book revolving around ballroom dancing and personal growth. The woman running it encourages comments and story submissions, so maybe some of you would like to participate!