Thursday, January 21, 2010

Follow My Lead

By Judith Garfield

“Shall we dance?”

Well, that depends. First answer a few questions for me. Are you rhythmically challenged? Have you ever been accused of having two left feet? Do the words “Ouch, that’s my toe!” sound familiar? If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, then I have one more. “Mind if I lead?”

Lots of people go through life hiding during wedding receptions and parties because they feel they can’t dance. We sit at our table pretending to be enjoying watching all the other dancing couples, half dreading, half hoping that someone will ask us to dance. In my mind I am always thinking ahead to the actual dancing that will take place if someone does ask me and I say yes.

Talk or no talk. Contact or no contact. Can I trust this guy to watch out for the crazies on the dance floor? Will he even realize if am subtly taking the lead? Oh, the anxiety. If only men were able to check their macho-meter at the door, and let the better dancer lead. But soon, women might want to drive. Even vote. Who knows what kind of chaos would ensue?

Arthur Murray, the ballroom dancer and founder of the Arthur Murray Dance Studios, started a lot of trouble when he said “Don’t little lady blame your crushed toe on your partner. Maybe your back steps are too short. Get out of his way.” Hmph! Blame the follower. What if the leader is a total disaster? Ever been dipped by a dip?

S. is most accommodating and lets my inner Ginger gently guide his inner Fred. Some dancers are better followers. Some are better leaders. It has nothing to do with gender. S. has no issues with letting me lead and we really have fun when we trip the light fantastic.

If you want to improve your dance skills and feel more comfortable on the dance floor, ignore the chauvinism of Mr. Murray and find one of his studios for lessons. Dancing is exhilarating and a great way to exercise.

The next time you hit the dance floor, try to relax and have fun. They say you should dance like nobody is watching. But please, watch where you’re dancing.


Anonymous said...

Dance lessons should really be a part of gym class growing up. Maybe some of the fancy schools have this, but mine didn't. Why don't they teach us the things we really need to know, like dancing, or how to write a check? Really, when am I going to use that paper I wrote on penguine mating patterns ever again? If they had taught me to tango on the other hand....

Big Shantz said...

i believe it was satchel paige who said 'dance like nobody's watching', although i've seen the quote attributed to mark twain as well. mr twain said enough things so lettuce give satchell paige this one. me, i like to talk like nobody's listening, which they usually aren't. in school i used to do homework like nobody was grading it & drive like nobody else was on the road. we mustn't take things so far, i eventually learned.

Anonymous said...

Why should anyone lead? Both genders were set free from this anxiety in the 60's when dancers stopped holding one another and did their own thing. I remember once being on the dance floor with an egomaniacal disco king who said, "just stand there and I'll dance around you." I left him alone on the dance floor and I don't think he ever knew it!