The event I’ve been waiting for all year finally started up again this evening: free ballroom dancing at Robson Square.
Last summer, I went to every single of one of the dances in the series, and was able to go from having zero partner dancing experience to being able to follow virtually all of the dances — even some of the ones we had not received lessons for.
These weekly dance evenings taught me that I could dance to virtually any partner dance as long as I got the most basic sense of the steps and a very good lead to guide me through them. As I mentioned in my last post, my two favourite ballroom dances (the Viennese Waltz and the Quick Step) are dances I had no lessons in and virtually no explanations for — and yet I was able to dance them and keep up with my partner, provided that he maintained a solid connection and led the steps firmly and purposefully.
I was practically bouncing with excitement for the day to end so the ballroom dancing would begin.
It wasn’t until just before I had to leave my house to catch the Canada Line downtown that I realized I couldn’t remember a single ballroom dance step. At most, I remembered that the jive had a triple step, and that the cha cha had a cha-cha-cha in it.
The night did not start off well. I made it to the Square just as they were starting the free cha cha lesson, so I didn’t have time to change into the dress and heels I had planned to wear. (Trying to glide in new sneakers is hard!)
When the actual dancing started, I changed into my heels, so it was easier to dance. I was able to pick up the waltz relatively easily, and the rumba and cha cha came back in bits and pieces — taking full songs to smooth out.
I was so psyched when a Viennese Waltz came on and I found a guy to dance it with me. Seconds later, I felt flustered when I couldn’t follow it at all and ended up taking random, messy steps. (To be fair, the lead gave me no connection, so that I could not feel what he wanted me to do at all.)
This dance failure dashed my confidence. It was only half an hour into the general dancing, and already, I was thinking about how much I now sucked and how much work I had cut out for me.
Then, things started to look up. Another Viennese Waltz came on a few songs later, and, after racing around the rink from lead to lead, I finally found someone who could lead the dance.
Suddenly, we were whirling and twirling so fast that I couldn’t even pay attention to anything around me. I felt giddy — the way that I feel when I dance the Viennese Waltz correctly.
I experienced a mix of triumphs and failures while dancing with different leads. My best dance of the night was by far a cha cha led by a guy who takes lessons at a ballroom dancing studio. His lead was so solid that I was even able to incorporate the feel of the dance into my movement.
And to top it all off, I found someone to race around the rink doing the Quick Step with!
I can count on one hand the number of times I can remember being hit by an endorphin rush that left me feeling high, hyper-happy, and almost glowing with giddiness — and this was one of them.
It’s moments like these that I remember what got me into dancing — after almost a lifetime of failure and misery with it.
Once and a while, dancing stops being a challenge and simply becomes blissful movement to music. 🙂
Here’s a promo video that will tell you all about Robson Square. I’m in it quite a bit. :P)