Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Partner work

So where exactly does one look while dancing with a partner? Are you supposed to look around the room to see what’s doing elsewhere? Stare fixedly over your partner’s shoulder into the distance? Gaze passionately into their eyes? Or what?

If you’re on a date, I imagine you would want to make some fun or romantic eye contact, at least once in a while. But when you are dancing with someone you don’t know, then what? Half the time they are counting to make sure they get the beat. Last week when I danced with that kid, we sort of chitchatted a little, but not much, and he totally knew what he was doing. He ended up singing along with the music, which I thought was very cool. The old guys I danced with last week didn’t say much. When I originally went dancing with Salsa Man, we did talk, but it was a date after all. Dancing in my weekly class with a partner seems to necessitate apologies from them for not “getting” the steps the first time.

Cha-cha class last night didn’t seem as bad, because now most people know who I am and that I’m basically pretty goofy, not intimidating or trying to steal their husbands as they first thought. (Despite my oft-heavy lipstick.) I’ll dance with anyone! Can I help it if I have fun, and want other people to have fun, too?

The kid and I had a song-long convo, as did one of the men who came with their wife. Sweat was pouring off him in buckets, but he led pretty decently. Generally, the men seem to need some encouragement, so I find myself saying, "You're doing great! Yeah! Try to relax! Feel the music!" even though they are not always so very good. It's a white lie, but probably better than glaring at them and snapping, "Fer chrissakes! Stop stomping on my foot!" That rarely happens, though. They are good sports, and are there for fun, anyway -- I mean, it's not dance class in elementary school where the girls and boys don't want to touch each other because they have cooties or something. And I danced with the cool woman again, too. Also with an older woman, who kept trying to turn me incorrectly. But no biggie.

Anyway, this is one of the quandaries I am currently faced with. I feel pretty awkward when I’m dancing with these strangers (even just learning) so I thought if anyone knew how to feel less so, they could share how they do it. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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