Posted by: Kristy | September 4, 2008

Almost like having kids

We reached a milestone today. I didn’t think it would happen so soon. But as I clapped my hands and smiled encouragingly and praised their accomplishment their tiny hopeful smiles broke into full grins and we high-fived all around as Bobby Darin’s “Always” faded. I just wanted to pinch their cheeks and croon “Look at you go! Looky! Looky at you. You’re doing so good. What a good job!”

And only a few months ago this couple was looking at me skeptically as I promised them I could teach them how to dance. Maybe not dance like Fred and Ginger, but dance so they wouldn’t be embarrassed at a party. As they made their way around the floor without jerking like robots, stringing more than two patterns together (they know six steps, thank you very much) and actually staying on time with the music, I felt a swell of pride. This couple started so I could teach them to dance for their son’s wedding and continued after the event because they enjoy it and we three have such fun.

And now they’ve moved on to learning a new dance. We’ve left the foxtrot behind for now and are working on swing and some rumba.

It’s like an entry level ballroom dancer’s equivalent to rolling over from their belly to their back. Or maybe to moving on to food pureed in a blender. We’ve gone through some discomfort and confusion. We’ve tackled the same things about a zillion times. But it finally sunk in.

This is why I love teaching. To see others understand what happens to a person on the inside, and especially to a couple, when something in the movement and the music just clicks. To share that excitement and sense of accomplishment. I spent four hours straight on the dance floor tonight and am so proud of my students. The single guy who is manning up and learning a swing routine for our upcoming showcase. The couple who is moving on to a new dance. The ones who admit it took them forever to get up the guts to think of learning, gasp, how to dance. The new students I got tonight who want to learn for their wedding and already moved from giggling and tripping self-consciously over each other to making it all the way around the floor — twice — without mashing anyone’s toes. Soon they’ll be bringing me pictures of their ceremony and the first dance I’m going to choreograph for their reception. And I get paid to have all of this fun!

Sniff. Snuffle.

They just grow up so darn fast.

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