For the past six months my husband and I, along with our daughter and her fiancé have been taking dance lessons to prepare for their wedding. We have laughed and bickered, stepped on toes and swung our partners. It has been great fun, working side by side to master some dance steps and prepare to have fun on the dance floor.
It also teaches us the value of preparation. It creates a sense of calm, of steadiness, and of confidence. As we learn new skills, particularly those which demand that one person leads, while the other follows, our habits, our strengths and our limitations show themselves.
Ballroom dance lessons demand consistency, rhythm, patterns, and literally following a step-by-step regimen. As boring as this might sound, there is comfort in the repetition and the standardization. We humans crave that as much as we crave excitement.
What’s not boring is coming face to face with yourself. As someone who likes to be in control, this dance lesson thing has become a training session in the value of learning to follow and let go. For my husband, it has been a mirror lesson in guiding effectively, so that it’s easier for me to let go. Our energy feeds off of each other.
And we watch the same story happening as our daughter and future son-in-law play out these matching lessons. Learning the steps, learning to lead, feeling the beat — these are some pretty heavy-duty simultaneous demands for the male dance partner. And over the months our men took on the challenge. So much so that finally, last week, everybody actually took a deep breath and cracked a smile while we were practicing.
That’s the real secret isn’t it? When that smile creeps across our faces we have crossed a threshold. We’ve put in enough hours to have the skills and the muscle memory to perform. This process has kept us on our toes! And the better side of our toes was the challenge, the novelty, that being a beginner again. And shortly, we’ll get to perform our well-earned dances at the big W occasion.
Then we’ll have the memory of learning, crying and laughing together. And then it’s on to the next new lesson. So what’s your dance lesson this week? What patterns and regimens help you learn? How are you dancing with your strengths and limitations?
And while we’re speaking of dancing, during times like this let’s not forget that fun quote:
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”