Saturday, June 09, 2007

I Can’t Not Dance

Since I’m going to be a dancer in my next lifetime, I need to get in all the practice I can during this lifetime. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the physique of a dancer, but that hasn’t stopped me. Through the years I’ve had formal or informal training in folk dancing, square dancing, “social” dancing, jazz dance, hula, and, most recently, ballroom dancing.

For about 3 years, every Tuesday evening I did the waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and samba in a dance studio only a block from my apartment. The way I started the lessons was practically like a scene in the movie Shall We Dance? For several years I gazed up at the lit windows of the studio, sometimes seeing a shadow of a dancer moving past. I finally got up the nerve to climb the stairs to the 2nd floor and, after peering through the glass door, signed up for a dance circle.

Ballroom dancing is a terrific workout in so many ways. Not only does it help with strength, balance, and coordination (I'm beginning to distinguish my left from my right foot), it is also a social way of exercise together. "In addition," according to an article in the National Retired Teachers Association newsletter (2007) "dancers must memorize intricate steps and movements, mater timing, and coordinate movements with a partner--the type of mental acrobatics that hold off memory loss and dementia."

Unfortunately, when I passed the audition for Sapporo Symphony Chorus, I had to quit since rehearsals were on the same evening. However, private lessons were still an option., so I kept taking lessons occasionally even though it was expensive. A couple weeks ago I was dismayed when I looked up to see the windows darkened and the curtains gone. The studio was empty! All my dreams of being belle of the ball at my 50th high school reunion had vanished. And just after I had gotten new arch supports in my dance shoes that meant I could dance longer without getting tired.

Actually, I had met my dance teacher at the subway station a few weeks before, and he had mentioned something about opening a new studio. What I had thought was that he was branching out, and that he’d be teaching in at least a couple of places. Last week I got a formal announcement in the mail about his new studio. I can get there pretty easily by streetcar, although it’s a long ride of at least half an hour, not counting standing and waiting in all sorts of inclement weather. I’m so eager to continue dancing – at least the Latin dances – that I’ll probably check out his new studio. If it has air conditioning, I’ll continue private lessons for sure during summer vacation.

I can't not dance!

Scott, Phil. "Get Your Groove On." National Retired Teachers Association, Spring 2007, p. 12.

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