6pm to 7:30pm
Dance lesson with Ivan
As I pull into the parking lot a strange car follows behind me. It's Ivan! My dance instructor that I haven't seen for the better part of two months. I've just returned from a cruise to New Zealand. Prior to that he left for Bulgaria to get married. We haven't danced together or apart for what seems like ages.
But Ivan has a new Porche! It is so cute but I didn't recognize him at first because he is usually on his little Vespa. We hug in the parking lot. It is so good to see my dear friend after such a long time.
But how will this lesson go? I have tried to keep moving while he has been gone but failed miserably during at least the last two weeks while on vacation. I am usually out of breath anyways but after such a long break I am doubly concerned about my stamina, my feet, my lungs. Will I even remember anything he taught me?
We begin to move and go through all the American Rhythm dances and some Smooth ones as well. You see, ballroom dancing is divided into four major categories.
American Rhythm: American style Rumba, Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Bolero, and Samba
International Latin: Rumba, Cha Cha, Jive, Samba, and Paso Doble
American Smooth: Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz
International Standard: Slow Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep
I focus primarily on American Rhythm and Smooth with Ivan though I have aspirations of learning all the dances, and even some that aren't standard ballroom dances such as West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Hustle, and Argentine Tango.
As for now, muscle memory prevails and I relax into all my old routines. I only stumble with East Coast Swing (ECS) which we plan to revist first thing next lesson.
But while we have been dancing, there has been another couple in the room. This occurs often in ballroom studios so instructors and their students must share space and music. I haven't noticed them at all during the lesson being so absorbed in what I was doing until the man speaks to me. He is seated by the door, resting after his practice session.
"You are so fun to watch."
Wow, I think. He so didn't have to say that.
"Thanks so much," I reply.
"The joy just oozes out of you."
I can't think of a better compliment and tell him so.
Driving home, I reflect; my technique may not be perfect, my body may be less than at optimal health, I may be out of breath after a short while, and I may make mistakes, but you know what? I love dancing. I love, love, love it.
And I guess that shines through regardless.