All started well, as the dance instructor had us stand across the room from our partners to teach us beginning footwork, from the point of view of the person leading (think Fred) and the person following (think Ginger). After that, we joined our partners and learned the proper way to hold onto each other (think Johnny Castle and Baby — “this is your dance space, this is my dance space”).
And then music, and 1 -2 , angle back, cross, turn, STOP — CHANGE PARTNERS. Huh? We were instructed to move on to a new partner for the next segment of the lesson, and then again for the next, and so on through the evening. I think I danced with B. twice. And 20 other partners the other 20 times. The reason we were doing this? “You need to learn how to dance with different people, because you never know when you may have to.” Seriously? How many times do you find yourself in a dance emergency (“OMG, I wish I’d danced with strangers in dance class — how will I survive dancing with someone’s Uncle Benjy at little Tiffany’s bat mitzvah?”).
The one person with whom I plan on doing 99.9% of my dancing for as long as my legs hold out is the person I signed up for the class with. He’s the one I need to learn with. He’s also the person I want holding me and smiling down into my eyes (or grimacing, depending on whether I mistake his foot for the floor). We’re taking this class together because we want to spend time together (no offense to the 20 other partners, but, no, I don’t want your hand on the middle of my back).
B. and I lasted only two of the eight sessions, because it just wasn’t fun. But it wasn’t a total loss. We took the steps we learned and now dance whenever the mood strikes. In our kitchen with the music turned up (My Girl by the Temptations works particularly well for us) and a couple of glasses of wine. Catch you later, Uncle Benjy.
© 2012 Claudia Grossman