“First I was afraid, I was petrified”…to dance?

I LOVE dancing, but last night… I was terrified of it.  My hubby and I were one of about 15 couples that danced in a “showcase” at BLS, Ballroom Latin Swing club.  That means all the couples were to go out on the floor, one at a time, with everyone watching only them.  The thought of that terrified me from the beginning, but after some prodding, I agreed…and I’m glad I did it.

We started taking ballroom lessons about seven years ago.  It’s something my hubby agreed to do because he knew how much I enjoyed dancing.  It’s something I always wanted to learn to do properly from when I was a young girl.  There just wasn’t money for lessons as my mother was a single mom raising two kids with no help from anyone.  So, my partner in life… became my partner in dance.  🙂

We started with ballroom lessons at Fred Astaire’s in North Little Rock.  Leidy and Naomi, our teachers, gave us a great foundation in all of the ballroom dances…and I loved every minute of it.  I highly recommend ballroom and swing for beginners.  Then about four years ago, our friend Paula Birdsong (don’t you just love that name) invited us to Louis Bianco’s home to learn the art of the Argentine Tango.  This dance fascinated me.  Not only do I love the music, but one can be very creative as we don’t really have a “basic step” per se, it’s more of interpreting the music with movement.  After learning the basics of the traditional tango, we began to just play around on our own, making up moves as the music leads.  Which leads me to what frightened me.

Last year we were talked into a “showcase” at Dreamland Ballroom.  It was a fundraising event to restore the Taborian Hall in Little Rock.  I was extremely nervous about improvising the dance.  That’s what we do when we tango, no choreography, just get out there and dance as the music leads.  Out of fear we choreographed the opening, a bit in the middle, and the end.  You’ve heard Gloria Gaynor sing, “first I was afraid, I was petrified”…yeah, that was me.  But I thought, I’m 44 years old, as a kid I dreamed of doing something like this, and if I don’t do it, I’ll always wonder if I could have.  So we did it.  And afterwards…it felt great that I accomplished something I always wanted to do.  🙂  Last night’s dance, however, was a lot more off the cuff, and that’s what petrified me.

We’ve been playing around with different movements and usually, always, it’s in a large room with many other couples on the floor.  We don’t have everyone’s eyes on us.  Sometimes while we play around, some new movement comes out that we feel worked great.  But other times, my hubby tries something, I don’t follow well, and we just don’t look graceful at all.  And that’s ok because we don’t have a whole room full of people watching us.  We’re usually just dancing for fun and for ourselves.  Although I had some trepidation about last night, it wasn’t until I left work, knowing that I was going home to get ready to do this dance, that I began to freak out.  What if I didn’t follow his lead well?  What if I trip on my foot as I’ve done before?  What if…what if…what if?  By the time we got to the ballroom and I saw there were several other tangos AND we were third from the last in the line-up, I actually freaked out enough that I didn’t want to do it.  I can’t even tell you the bundle of nerves that I was.  Talk about a basket case.  Sheesh.  A few people wished us well, told me we’d be fine, etc.  My friend Gloria was so sweet giving me an herbal “relaxer” and best of all was Cathy, who came into the bathroom where I was hiding, and she prayed for me.  “Dance for an audience of one,” she said.  Although it wasn’t a dance in worship of God, it was a dance to show the creativity and ability He gave us.  I tried to think about that.  We got out there, we danced, it’s over, and I’m glad we did it.

There are lots of things out there that we don’t do, because we’re afraid.  Sometimes our fears are warranted, and sometimes they’re not.  But if we let fear stop us from doing all the things we’re afraid of messing up, we won’t ever do anything.  What is it that fear is stopping you from doing?  Don’t let it stop you.  It may not go perfectly (our dance didn’t) but it might just go so wonderfully, or at least give you a sense of accomplishment, and you’ll be glad you at least tried.  And that will put a smile on your face. 🙂

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Here’s a little amateur video of our amatateur tango/salsa fusion:



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