Despite the urban myth, white men can dance.
Okay, I have an confession. My name is Mark and I’m learning to dance. There, I’ve said it, I’ve come out and laid my secret bare. A great weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I’m now able to face life knowing that everyone reading this blog will be able to pose me the question ‘Strictly Ballroom?’
So, how on earth did someone leading a relatively quiet life in BC get involved in this shameless act of exhibitionism? This journey was certainly more of a slow, slow than a quick quick. From time to time I was reminded by my wife that before moving to Canada I’d for some reason promised that if we relocated I’d learn to dance with her (something my wife had mentioned she’d like to do on a not too infrequent basis). Well a couple of years in to this adventure with a settled job and finally some disposable income to hand my conscience couldn’t handle the pressure any longer. I had to do it, I had to cross the threshold from two left feet to meaningful movement.
And so it was that at the end of 2009 I booked a free (note the level of commitment here) introductory lesson at a local Arthur Murray dance school in Port Coquitlam. It was a life changing experience as I discovered the despite the urban myth, white men can actually dance. It only took 45 minutes to be hooked and there I was signing up to a basic course. Suddenly there was an outlet for me to express my lack of ability to play a musical instrument. I could move to music instead.
The last 10 months have seen Lesley and I progress from absolute beginners to actually learning a routine and we’re now able to move ourselves around to Cha Cha, Rumba, Salsa, Swing, Foxtrot, Tango and Waltz. Okay, we may not be the most elegant folks on the dance floor (which is a bit of an understatement I suppose), however, the feet know what to do, the brain is willing and to a certain extent the body is able. No more two left feet.
I see so many different age groups at the studio we go to, some couples learning a routine for their wedding day, singles out for fun that doesn’t involve drinking and falling over and older couples which I guess includes the wife and I doing something together that involves co-operation, timing and lots of laughs. Dancing is certainly a mental challenge and for me at least a bit of gentle exercise, which obviously means I’m not putting the physical effort in.
Right, what advice would a new convert to the cause give those out there wondering and wavering? There’s a book entitled ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway‘ that I’ve yet to read, however, it says all that’s needed. Check out some local studios, get a feel for the people there, try an introductory session, just do it – you might just shock yourself and enjoy the experience. Rhythm is gonna get you – 80’s nostalgia anyone?