Dance Lesson #2: War of the Twirleds

Dance Lesson Number Two took place last night and was a study in lowering the bar. When we were good, we were very…OK. But when we were bad, we were awful.

At times, we seemed to be really dancing, moving as a couple with the music and feeling only a little like the step-counting robots from last week. That feeling invariably passed, however, as our tenuously-grasped rhythm sputtered, died, and left us standing there with a single recurring phrase on our lips: “let’s start over.” (At least we were synchronized at that point.)

Repitition is the operative term. The class was essentially a duplicate of last week’s, and that was good. I remembered exactly one of the seven steps we were introduced to in that first class, and I don’t think I was alone in my inability to retain the moves. We started from scratch and went through each step: foxtrot, waltz, cha-cha…and so on. We added a couple of new moves here and there — the tango corte, for example — but overall we simply tried to deepen our neural grooves by a picometer, hoping that the basics would stick with us for at least an hour after class, instead of disappearing in ten minutes like they did before.

I’ve also begun to realize that I have no natural ear for music and rhythm, in terms of knowing which dance goes with which music. We spent a little time at the end of class listening to music, then attempting to match the right step to it. The Latin rhythms all seem the same to me (except for the tango, which is becoming my dance of choice, I think because it’s the only one where we spell out the steps instead of count them). I dread the day when I’ll suffer the fatal humiliation of attempting to mambo to what will be obvious to everyone else is a cha-cha. It’s inevitable, and there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.

Regardless, we soldier on, and take our victories where we find them. No one got hurt and the instructor generally was successful in containing her laughter. Lesson #3 is a week away, and I must go practice.


  1. Mr. Eric,
    Keep pressing on! If you can master the basics, your girl will be forever grateful. Women just get into partner dancing in a huge way. I can’t figure out why guys are not lined up around the block to take lessons. Maybe it’s a matter of feeling inadaquate or incompetant? But a good instructor should be able to alleviate those misconceptions. If you can master the subtle are of leading, success will be sure, even if you happen to be off-beat. Someday, I’ll get around to writing down my theology of partner dancing: how partner dancing reflects a believer’s walk with Christ.
    If you want an interesting read about partner dance (specifically swing dancing) and culture, check out It Ain’t Got That Swing: The Rebirth of Grown-Up Culture by Mark Gauvreau Judge.
    Swing ya’ l8r,
    Texas T

  2. Travis, thanks for the encouragement, amigo! Even though it may not show in my posts, we are having fun, and intend to keep pursuing the goal, however inexpertly.
    I dropped over and read about the book you mentioned. It sounds interesting; I’ve bookmarked the link and may well pick up a copy.
    Be sure to let me know when you’ve got your “theology of partner dancing” up; I’d love read it!

  3. Eric,
    One of the great joys my wife and I have after nearly 40 years of together is on the dance floor at a wedding dance or any event where dancing happens. I won’t pretend, the complements “you guys are great dancers” feed the ego a bit. Keep at it. It’s a wonderful thing. What good thing was ever easy to learn.

  4. Denise, I almost forgot about the new show! We saw a commercial for it and it looks interesting, in light of our own experiences.
    I suspect, however, that it will only reinforce our own ineptitude.

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