Given this, it’s really no wonder that my first “magical” moment in ballroom happened during a waltz group class. My dance partner taught the class that night and since he’s very technical, his emphasis was on our feet. I won’t go into any long-winded explanations so to put it succinctly, we were working on leading with our heels and leg/foot extension.
I find the Rhythm dances easier than the Smooth. They seem to fit more with my energetic personality, and I just find the figures easier. I love the Smooth dances dearly, and it’s a goal of mine to improve my skills to the extent where I really stand out on the floor. That being said, the most difficult thing about it is really extending my legs: 1) Because I’m short, so extending anything is a bit of a chore. 2) I’m irrationally afraid that too much extension will result in back-leading.
The group class went well enough as I tried to stretch my legs and feet without falling on my bum (ironically, I fell on that spot later in the evening during a line dance). Pretty soon, the first waltz of the night came on. I was hoping to dance with my partner because he always challenges me when I dance with him. The party was unusually large that night because a lot of newcomers came; normally we don’t even have a line of dance. He likes to dance with the newbies, and he has other students. Thus, there have been times where I’ve wanted to practice a certain dance with him, but have been unable to. Needless to say, I was pleased when he asked me to waltz with him. What pleased me even more was the fact that he complimented me by telling me I had the best feet in class that night.
If you look at it out of context, it’s a pretty weird compliment, especially for those of us who don’t like feet. As a dancer, it’s one of the best compliments someone could ever give me. It was just pure joy, and I became more joyful as the night progressed.
I rarely look in the mirrors at the studio because it just feels weird. However, when I looked in the mirror that night, I didn’t see my reflection. I saw a dancer. I mean, whenever I tell people about my hobby, I call myself a dancer. But as an artist, I’m my own worst critic. Normally I just see a student trying her best at something she loves, but to see myself as a dancer was a blissful glance into the future. The night ended with what the teachers dubbed “The Goodnight Waltz.” I didn’t expect my DP (again, that’s dear partner) to dance with me again because I figured he would want to dance with one of his other students, and he had already waltzed with me once. To my surprise, he chose to dance with me again. I could tell he was pleased with the progress I had made as we were dancing. He seemed content and just happy to be dancing with me. This, in turn, made me even more happy because I knew I had made him proud.
If this post seems jumbled and a bit haphazardly put together, it’s just that these feelings are really hard to describe. These feelings are still with me, even one day later. For all you hobbyists out there, I sincerely hope that you’ll look in the mirror one day, and see an artist reflected back at you.