Growing Elegance


I had two private lessons yesterday because I missed one during my first work week.  Not that I was complaining, I got to dance with both Eddie and Olga.  I don’t get to dance with the former often.  Aside from co-owning the studio, he’s also an accredited ballroom judge, a coach, and the professional for his many competitive students.  Not to mention he has a family of his own.  He’s a hard man to pin down for those reasons, and I’m always grateful whenever I can have a lesson with him.  This time, we finally got to Smooth.

I wanted to work on Viennese because it’s the dance where I know the fewest patterns.  Real dancing isn’t the regurgitation of patterns, but the seamless blending of them.  Still, first things first.  We began with a warm-up with its slower cousin (often called Slow Waltz).  Turns out we spent most of our lesson on it.  I was disappointed, but what Eddie told me more than compensated.

Waltz is a solid foundational dance, one that requires great body strength.  Don’t believe me?  Try dancing on the balls of your feet most of the time while maintaining an upright carriage.  That doesn’t even scratch the surface.  But I digress.

Eddie and I prominently worked on my developé, which is the beginning of the amalgamation he made for me.  I’m no gymnast.  I’m no ballerina.  Yet, I’ve always been pretty limber.  The real trick is knowing how to use it.  There we were, working on polishing the transitions, this and that, etc.  Nothing new.  Then, Eddie says “If we keep working on this I feel like you can really flourish.”  That surprised me.  We both knew that Rhythm fit my personality better.  Because hyperactivity and Cha-cha just fit.

It was kind of wonderful to hear that I could really do right by those dances that effuse elegance.  I had never thought of myself that way, even in potential, until I started dancing.  Some of my readers may know that if it wasn’t for ballroom, I probably would have never grown into womanhood.  From hating dresses, skirts, makeup, and anything feminine to being told I can be that woman.  Okay, he didn’t exactly say I could be that woman, the one who glides everywhere she steps and disarms with her sheer grace. His words helped me see it.

Even writing this has helped things become clearer.  I intermittently struggle with being secure in my femininity.  Make-up is still not my preference, fashion is meh, and I loathe shopping.  Stereotypes, sure.  That doesn’t keep me from wondering “Am I really a woman?  Or, will people still see that tomboy?”  I hate admitting that I’ve cared too much about what others think.  But, the proof is right there.

Step by step, dance is helping me learn more about myself, how to improve myself.  That’s why I’m never going to stop, why none of us will ever stop.

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3 thoughts on “Growing Elegance

  1. On a day to day basis, I don’t really do make up. In fact, I often put my make up on, on my way OUT of work to the studio. I’m always really intrigued by how many of the women I dance with think of the make up as a dance thing, not a female thing, and that’s made it more approachable for me.

The floor is yours now.

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