So now that I’ve told my current employer that I’ve been offered a new position, I guess it’s kosher to share that news with you, too. This is a very good thing and I’m very thankful. After writing my letter of intent and warily walking into work this morning, I was thrilled that things went really well and that it has been an amicable parting of ways. I will still be there for a few more weeks to help them out but then I’ll be off to the next adventure.
I preemptively scheduled a lesson after work because you just never know how the day is going to go and dancing is my outlet. No matter what is going on in my life, if I have to focus on a step and be present in the moment, worries melt away, at least for a little while. Plus I get the opportunity to lather up a good sweat and then the endorphins kick in, so I generally end up feeling better after 45 minutes of dancing.
I walked in to the studio this afternoon and after changing into workout clothes, we began with a Tango. Man, did it feel awesome! I was so fiery for a change and Ivan told me my frame was good. Interestingly, from my perspective it was his frame that was better. To me, I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, but he felt more present, strong, direct through the arms and upper chest. I don’t actually know what may have shifted and truthfully, I don’t really care, but for whatever reason, whether it is him, or me, or the both of us, it was really working well.
I began to think that Ivan was really enjoying doing all those head snaps and cortes and staccato movements. Truly, it is so fun when it works and it seemed to be working pretty well right then, so I was really enjoying it too. It also made me feel like dancing bigger, taking larger steps that open at the hip rather than the knee, and really flying around the studio. It was fantastic way to begin the lesson.
The fun didn’t stop there…does it ever really end with my favorite Bulgarian? We put on a Viennese Waltz, a softer song by Whitney Houston. I don’t know all the words but I know the tune and Ivan was singing. We were belting out the song to each other (poorly) but it was so much fun, I can’t stand it! I don’t know if laughing is allowed on the elegant Viennese Waltz, but I couldn’t help it. Ivan sang in falsetto!
Then on to a fun Foxtrot and Waltz. Ivan was really testing me today, seeing if I was following properly. He would stop in unexpected places. I really couldn’t go on autopilot but had to pay attention every second. I did really well, in my own estimation. I slipped up in a few of the moves, but for most of the ones the threw at me, I responded instantly. I followed, for reals. It felt so great.
When we are really in sync as we were today, Ivan will do all sorts of steps and moves he’s never showed me. He launched me into a big circular dip and also into the ending move we do in the Latin Rumba. The amazing thing was that it was fun, there was no fear. My brain didn’t have a chance to analyze the situation and tell me now difficult it was, that I couldn’t do it. I was just dancing, feeling secure, feeling safe with my partner, that he wouldn’t lead me astray or into anything that would cause me to injure myself. I relaxed into the trust we have been building over all this time, and it was just one of those magical lessons where things click. But even better than that, it wasn’t so much coming to understand a particular step as it was creating unity. The two of us came together to dance today but once we got into hold, we became a single unit in the flow. Really, there is nothing better. I feel like I’m doing a poor job of explaining, but if you’ve ever felt this you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Anyways, then we were on to American Rhythm Rumba. Again, the dang arm styling. I’m doing better but then at the very end of moves I don’t know how to finish so I don’t follow through with the movement and my arm or hand or wrist just stops moving. But it’s better. I’m actually even enjoying playing with it where before I just loathed it. This is an improvement.
Then a little Cha Cha which was fun and I got to learn a new step involving locks. But then on to Samba.
Oh, I had been laughing a lot on the lesson and Ivan was making fun of my laugh. He told me, “You should be in opera.” Because it is pretty high-pitched (No higher than Ivan singing in falsetto, though!) Then somehow his imitation of my operatic laughter morphed into the sound a monkey makes. Ivan began grunting like an ape and then told me that we would need to practice making animal sounds while dancing.
Um, okay. Maybe this was to make me breathe while dancing? That’s definitely an issue. Or maybe he was just being silly. Whatever. I went with it.
He went first, making our lesson a live episode of Wild Kingdom, ca-cawing, and howling, and grunting like a monkey. Needless to say, I was a noodle. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t dance. All I could do was laugh, laugh, laugh!
So then Ivan told me it was my turn. We made it to the fourth sound, maybe 16 counts into the Samba. I started with a bird call, then a frog ribbit, then an owl hoot. Ivan was good to his word. He was silent and stayed “serious.” Well, that is until I did a little Me-ow.
OMG! He totally lost it. It was Hi-lar-ious!
Now really, who does this on a lesson? Who tells their student to make animal noises while dancing?
Only Ivan. He’s one of a kind, that’s for sure!
So at the end of the lesson he told me, “Good animal.”
Thanks, Ivan. I’ll take it.