Monday, March 05, 2012

“Not So Dirty” Dancing

A few months ago, I took a Continuing Education class at Stanford called, “Do It Anyway: Creating a Life of Passionate Action”.   It was a fantastic class and I will write more about it in my next post.  
For our homework each week, we were asked to do something we had never done before.
The woman sitting next to me in class had told me she loved ballroom dancing.  It made me think that was something I would love to do for my homework.  I mentioned it to her and she gave me a list of local places to go to and the courage to try it.  She turned out to be a wonderful friend and mentor in my new adventure.
One night in January, I decided to venture out on my own and see what would happen.  The theme of the Stanford class was to “just do it anyway” and I took that to heart.
There was a dance class before each “dance party”, so I had a chance to “get my feet wet” before the music really started.  It wasn’t that hard to follow along and I found I was really enjoying myself. 
What I really found was not just a place to dance, but an entire underground world that I didn’t know about.  First, it seemed if you loved ballroom dancing, you REALLY loved it and many people had been doing it for years.  The age span was varied and there were singles and well as couples.
I took the classes in Palo Alto, but I felt as if I had been dropped somewhere generations ago.  The women and men were exceedingly kind.  The men were very polite and followed by a number of rules that I was not used to.  First, men lead ALWAYS.  That one took a while for me to get the hang of, but I began to really enjoy it.  Second, if a mistake is made, it’s always the man’s fault because he is the leader.  I liked that one too.  Third, if a woman asks a man to dance, he must say “yes”.  So far, so good.
As I listened to the music and I watched and danced myself, I felt like I was transported to another world.  The waltz made me feel as if I was gliding across the dance floor in a movie.  The cha cha and the samba definitely brought out the latent Latin rhythm that was hiding inside me for the last decade or so.
The patience of the men I danced with and their kindness in teaching me steps that I didn’t know was consistent.  The feeling in the room was infectious and it was obvious how much fun everyone was having.  There seemed to be no feeling of competition whatsoever.  Each couple dancing was enjoying themselves in their own world.
One of the most interesting things I discovered was how many people who attended the dance worked with numbers or computers during the day.  The majority of the people seemed to be engineers, accountants, or those involved in other less people oriented careers.  Yet, at night, they turned into the most animated, beautiful dancers.  It was if there was a part of their personality that needed to be allowed out and this is where they were free to be someone other than they were during the day.

Well, needless to say, I am hooked.  I bought my dancing shoes a few weeks ago and I am thoroughly enjoying my “not so dirty” dancing.
Most importantly, it reminds me that trying new things is a very fun way to spice up your life.