Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Dance Starz Studio
Private Lesson with Ivan
I arrive and see Ivan who has finally brought his laptop computer to the lesson like I asked weeks ago. I wanted to see the pictures of him and Marieta as kids. I missed his wedding, it being in Bulgaria and all, but I still thought It’d be fun to see the slideshow created for them.
So the picture of the little guy above is Ivan at his first dance competition! Ha ha! Can you believe it. So darn cute!
Here’s another picture:
I love the frame, Ivan! Glad you worked on it in the ensuing years.
Anyways, after a good laugh, we set to work. We want to warm up and get ready for Linda Dean who will be coaching us in 45 minutes so we practice Latin Rumba, Cha Cha, and Samba.
Ivan reminds me that I’m still hiding out. He continues to challenge me to engage with him as a partner and I continue to sometimes do it and sometimes not. It is so out of my comfort zone to be in anybody’s space like this. And making the faces Ivan wants me to pull, they just don’t come naturally.
But I get that facial expressions are part of the package. I could be moving just great below the neck but if I look like a deer in headlights while doing it, not only does it look disconnected, it looks vacant, uncomfortable, bizzare.
Sigh. Another day, another practice. One day it will all come together.
So we practice some more and I remind myself to look him in the eye. He’s turning me and says that I’m doing well three-quarters of the way around but then when I get back to facing him I’m being too shy.
“You too nice, too sweet. You can’t be like this. Come on!”
He basically tells me I’ve got to be more of a harlot. Yeah, like I’ve had any practice doing that. When I imitate it, I just look stupid.
“Don’t look down and to the side. Look up.”
So I try this way of doing it and make the turn, finishing by looking upwards in what I feel is a haughty way, and Ivan likes it best. He gets goosebumps. They are short-lived.
We move some more and Ivan proceeds to remind me that I must complete one action before startring the next one. All too often I try to do two things at once. For instance, I try to step to the side at the same time I am trying to turn. What ends up happening is that I lose my balance, move slower, and miss going through body positions. It’s a jumbled mess. No clear pictures are drawn. I’m rushing to get to my final destination but missing all the luscious in-between, the cream between the cookies. Hmm, again, no resemblance to how I live my “real life,” none at all. Not!
Then it’s my arms. I seriously forget about them. They do all sorts of wacky things when left unattended, including, one of my all time favorites, making a fist. Now, I’m not a violent person generally, but I am clenching my hands all the time while dancing. Really now, what man wants to dance with a girl who may sock him at any moment? Thank you, Ivan, for braving it week in and week out. This is comething I’ve really got to attend to in the future.
Finally, we dance samba. I hear the usual refrain.
If there is one thing I’ve learned about Latin and American Rhythm dances it is that there can never be enough hips!
So my attention goes to my hips and again my arms have a mind of their own. I tense up and push against Ivan in an unconsious attempt to increase range of movement.
I’m pushing this poor man around on the dance floor and I don’t even know it.
“You pushing so much!”
“Sorry Ivan, I was thinking about my hips!”
“I don’t care what you thinking about! That’s your problem! I’ve got my own problems!”
We both laugh but I get the point.
What a skill set it will be to have, in both dance and in life to be completely about myself, pulling my own weight, and yet in equal partnership with another person. We both do have our own problems. Somehow we must manage them and yet still be available for each other. We must both get our own selves to the right destination while remaining connected, but I can’t use him to get there, and he can’t use me either.
The reality is that Ivan can’t move my hip any more than I can move his. Moving my hip is my problem.
“Wah!” The childish part of me, the part that doesn’t want to be a responsible adult wishes it weren’t my problem. It wants to get someone else to do it for me, even though it isn’t possible.
But how many times do I try to pawn off my problems in life? If I’m doing this on the dance floor, chances are it’s also showing up somewhere else in my daily existence. I don’t know about you, but I see a parallel in how many people interact. If we don’t manage our own problems, fully owning that they are ours and no one else’s, we project them on to others which leads to disasterous results.
We may try to relieve ourselves of problems by giving them to others but this never works. We spend energy “sideways” when we do this. We push and pull against each other instead of putting all our energy into the journey itself, facing whatever challenges come our way head-on.
But back on the dance floor Ivan and I have a new understanding. We try the sequence again and this time Ivan gives me only a finger instead of an entire hand. It’s up to me to connect, stay with him, and also move my own damn self.
What I discover is that in some ways it is easier. In some ways it is more difficult. And, that I am capable of doing it.
I think this is probably true in life as well. In some ways owning our problems is easier – we get to be honest and what a relief that is. In some ways it is more difficult – we have to face what we deny or wish wasn’t so. This can be painful. But we are all capable of handling the situation. Besides, if we don’t, who will? Somebody? Remember, you are a somebody. Somebody is you.
So then it was time for Linda to come coach us and boy was that an amazing experience. I love learning new things from different people. She really helped me and I can’t wait to share how…but I think I’ll save it for my next post. I’ve got to create a hook for you to come back next time, right?
So until then, keep dancing. I sure will. If you don’t, well, that’s your problem! 🙂