Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Aura, Dec 2, 2011.
thanks for sharing this! Such a beautifully told story!!!!!!!!!!!!and you know what, it's the obstacles you overcame in your way that make it all the more interesting and helpful to others.
I wanted to be a ballerina as a kid. I stopped wishing it when I went to high school, as I had realized by then that it was out of the question, my family had to make ends meet. I never ceased to admire and would even "fall in love" with my friends that went to ballet schools throughout my high school years.
My first experience of partner dancing at a party when I was 12 gave me the chills; it had to do with dating as Cornutt so eloquently described and I didn't want to be associated with that boy or any for that matter at that particular time. So, that was it; dancing with someone else only meant I was dating them the only exception being my darling brother who danced with me Strauss's Blue Danube throughout my teenage years.
Time went by, I met my hubby and we had our first dance together. I’m nineteen: Magic, I'm telling you. Time went by again and as he couldn't dance for some years I even ended up making a scene to him: he had danced at his birthday party with a friend of ours but not with me...But, to me he could decline the dance, to her he couldn't. He was right and I was wrong to be jealous.
Time went by, being students and out of work we seldom have enough money to go to clubs and stuff but if we do, we both dance our heart out. And then, five years ago, I get diagnosed with a herniated disc. That was it, dancing was out of the question just like walking was.
Two and a half years ago, I go to a dance class while in excruciating pain. The pain is intolerable and I even hide to the ladies room just to cry my eyes out. At the end of the lesson, the teacher I hardly knew at the time told me to just not give in to the pain and my back will be cured. All my doctors had advised me I was not to have a normal life again but his advice was otherwise. At that moment, he had given me hope and I grabbed it.
That’s what I’ve been doing, ever since.
I cannot remember a time when I did not need to dance, starting with a photo of me in my crib, standing, both arms up in an open 5th position with beautiful line. How did I do that? I don’t know, but thank you, God, for the gift and for my poor dad who worked two jobs to let me study, until I got scholarships. I took every class I could: beginning with tap as a pre-schooler to the great privilege of studying ballet with a disciple of Balanchine to jazz dance. I danced in a ballet company and community theater. But nature was cruel. I do not have the body people were looking for at auditions and so my career path led me to other options. Strike 1. I was heartbroken, but in hindsite, it saved my body (and my education) and I do not have quite the ravages my peers have. Life went by and I always went to class, fitting it in between school, career, family. Then time took its toll and I required possibly dance-ending surgery, because of years of pointe shoes and high heels. Strike 2. I was reconciled to losing what I love most, next to my family. Under the surgical meds, I recalled the line from Chorus Line (“Look, my eyes are dry…the gift was ours to borrow”). Corny, I know. But the surgeon was wonderful and I can dance again, and adapt to cover my limitations, which are not as bad as I feared. I was back in class, given another chance. Then, one of my children had a horrible accident and I really knew the meaning of heartbreak. How could I dance when she couldn’t? Strike 3? But I knew she wanted me to dance and I forced myself to class to make her happy, crying in the car with the guilt. The thing that brought me the greatest joy now reminds me of my deepest grief. The years have passed, the pain has dulled, and my adult child is a happy, independent, vibrant and active person with a life of her own. But now my body is wearing and jazz or ballet class with 20 –somethings is tough. After some false starts, heaven sent me a latin/ballroom pro, who is an amazing world class dancer and incredible teacher who teaches me as fast as I can get it into my muscles. A kindred spirit who has taken me from baby steps to working on champ technique in less than a year. It is hard, sweaty, intense work, but my amazing husband understands and does not mind my hours away with my pro. Sometimes, after 2 weeks of tech, at our lesson (which is at the same time as the party), I will ask my pro if we can just dance. Surprise me, I tell him. The lights are dim. The music is loud. The floor is sprung. He leads and I follow: cha-cha, samba, rumba, tango, jive. He takes me places I have never been before and always wanted to go. I turn off the words in my head and follow his lead. It has been a long journey, but I can be me again.
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