“Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
The further off from England the nearer is to France —
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.”
(Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll)
Tables make great hiding places.
In sixth grade, table-hiding was common among us unpopular wall-flowers who were required to attend school dances. I used to HATE to dance! We felt so awkward, so obvious, and any meager attempts at moving our young, uncoordinated bodies only brought rounds of laughter from our more appearance-fortunate girlfriends. The only solace was to hide our shame under tables.
Unfortunately, those negative, but powerful impressions of dancing stuck with me throughout high school and into my young adulthood. But every now and then, when watching an old musical production on television, I found myself secretly yearning to be like Ginger Rogers, and sighing whenever Fred swept her into his arms…oh to be able to move like that!
One magical evening changed all that… It was a hot, sultry night. I just turned twenty-one and was sipping on a wine cooler in celebration of my new-found legal-drinking-age freedom at a nightclub in Newport Beach, California. The live band was wonderful and the dance floor was packed. After a short while, the music changed to a slower pace and a man strolled over to me and extended his hand out to me. “Would you like to have this dance?” he asked. I felt myself freeze… Haunting memories of my early schoolyear dance experiences made me blurt out, “I can’t dance!” But he smiled as he took my hand and led me up to the dance floor. There were not as many people now, and he was gentle as he expertly placed me in proper “dance position.”
And then I floated. Really! Not only did I float, but I glided, whirled, and dipped as well! I felt alive…and beautiful…and graceful…I was Ginger Rogers! “What are we doing?” I asked excitedly, while looking up into his smiling face. “Foxtrot,” he replied, and he glided me around the floor some more.
He was my FIRST–my first exposure to the wonderful world of partner dance. After we danced, he revealed that he was a dance instructor and invited me to come to his studio to explore the possibilities of dance lessons. So I did. I tried something new and joined the dance, the result of which transformed my life forever…