What Dancing Means to
An Essay by Our Owner Freddie Ciampi
I have seen the footprints in the manual. I have tried them in my head, in the house… I have failed. I see people dancing, they look so graceful, they move together, effortlessly, somehow moving in unison to a sound that I can not find in the music, in life. I have learned the steps; they are not as challenging as I thought. I am learning how each dance has its own characteristics, its own feelings, its own life. I am learning to be anyone I want, so long as I can put up the right dance frame. (That still gets me from time to time.) I know what it means to have “grace”; I know what it means to move with “grace”. Most importantly, I have learned to treat people with grace. I’ve learned to pick my critique very carefully, people don’t like to hear what they did wrong, and I like that about myself. My balance has improved, it is a constant struggle, and I will work at it. As I struggle to find balance in dance, my struggle to find balance in life diminishes, I will work at it. I am learning to work as a team, with my partner. They say it takes two to Tango, it takes two to Waltz as well. In fact, it takes two to do a great many things in life. It’s nice to have company.
I introduced myself to someone new in dance class; we ended up having the same interest in books, we bonded. Who would have thought such an abstract subject could bring two people closer. Conversation this easy has never happened to me before. I guess I just need a way to break the ice. If I could dance with a stranger, talking to a stranger is easy.
I danced every dance at the last social. I didn’t even care if others were watching, if only they could see me in dance class. It was the most exhilarating experience I have had in some time, the sore muscles will go away with time, but my memory of that night will not soon be forgotten.
Everyone in class thought I looked funny when I did the step where I move backwards. Something about that just made my day. I’m really starting to “feel” the floor under my feet, I’m finding it easier to keep control of my balance, body and mind. Someone complemented me on my posture today. I just smiled, if only they saw me in dance class.
The more I learn about dance, the more I find that I will never know it all. I don’t want to know it “all” anymore. And even if I did know everything, I would still come to class. It’s the process that brings me so much joy. I’m thankful every dance where I change the mood of my partner after I dance with them, the smile that I helped to create makes my bad day brighten a bit. I’m inspired when I see my friend that was so shy at the start of the year welcoming others, just as I did them. I don’t look at the patterns in the manual anymore. I don’t even think of dance as just patterns, I think of it as many things. I think of it as feelings in my body, I think of it as bonding with another (much like stopping to talk with a stranger on the street). I don’t see dance class as a goal to be won anymore. I see it as a journey to be enjoyed.
I will enjoy the ride.
“Every day on the [dance floor] is about making little adjustments, taking what you’ve hot on the day and finding the way to deal with it.”
– Tiger Woods