Dancing with the Stars is responsible.
As the ballroom dance competition was heating up back in April, Greer, my 11-year-old, announced she wanted to learn how to ballroom dance. She is not a child who makes such declarations often. So, before she went to bed that night, I was looking for someone who could teach her.
A friend connected me with a guy who teaches private lessons. I could tell his laid-back style would mesh well with Greer’s. I signed her up.
Then I started thinking.
If I’m going to take her to lessons and sit there with her…
And it’s just her learning to dance…
Heck, I don’t know how to ballroom dance at all.
Surely, I, too, could learn to rumba.
Greer said she didn’t mind if I mooched in on her dance lesson. And that’s how the two of us, mother and daughter, started learning to waltz and jitterbug. We’ll soon be moving on to other, slightly more complicated, dance floor numbers.
There’s a chance at this point that some faithful readers are aghast that the waltz and jitterbug have come into my life so late. While dancing is as much a part of Acadiana’s culture as the music that inspires the moves, not so far from this region, there are places were many people just don’t dance.
Years ago, even though most of the girls in my class took dance lessons from Miss Glinda on Monday afternoons, dancing was frowned upon in the tiny town where I grew up.
We learned shuffle-ball-change and other basic steps, but only Tina Smith (who must have had a little Billy Elliott thing going on in her head) knew how to act on a dance floor. Tina danced all the time and didn’t care what anybody said or thought. She had the music in her and could have made it down the Soul Train line in style.
I checked with childhood friends to see if they remembered it the way I did. They agreed — a dance floor intimidates us.
When my husband and I took our first dance at our wedding reception (to Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, by the way), the depth of my inadequacies was apparent. Clearly, dancing was a lot of fun. I just didn’t know how to do it.
I didn’t want that for either of our daughters.
For Greer and me, our dance teacher has been a gift. Dancing with someone who knows what’s going on makes things less complicated. He teaches us the steps. One. Two. Three. We review. He teaches us how to turn. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.
When he puts on the music and my little-girl-on-the-verge-of-growing-up waltzes, my whole heart smiles. I can see her counting in her head as she steps to the beat.
One. Two. Three. One. Two. Three.
When it’s my turn, there are these fleeting moments when I stop counting and just dance that take my breath away.
One. Two. Three. One. Two…