The Reluctant Ballroom Dancer

youth ballroom dancingOk, so a little bit of history about me (hi, I’m Yana).  It’s a cute story about a reluctant ballroom dancer that had a change of heart.

The year was 1994.  I started taking ballroom/latin dance classes when I was 11 years old.  Actually, let me rephrase that, I was forced to take ballroom/latin dance classes by my mother when I was 11 years old.  She came home one day from work and said that she was taking me to try out a dance class. Everyone was doing it.  By “everyone”, she meant all her Russian friends’ daughters and, of course, she had to stick me into the same social circle.

A dance class?  Are you kidding me?  How humiliating, embarrassing, and totally not a cool thing for an eleven year old to start!!! But I went anyway; I had too.  I had no choice!

We arrived at the dance studio and I put on my shield:  it was the attitude of an unhappy, too cool for anything, mixed with the pissy pre-teen mood.  Just the sure thing that would get me out of taking any more classes :) Or so I thought.

Right before the class began, I was given the option to try it out or sit and watch.  I, of course, chose the latter.  And so I sat there with crossed arms and the stare of death on my face waiting for the class to start so it can hurry up and end.

The music started and so did the first dance, the Waltz.  And then something happened. Something that I never imagined would happen, happened!  I watched in disbelievement at how beautiful and elegant these kids moved together in pairs across the dance floor.  I watched how the masculinity of the male partner accented and complimented the femininity of the female partner, almost like the ying and yang….and a little bitty part of me wanted to be there dancing with them.  I continued to watch as they danced through the Waltz, the Fox Trot, the Tango, the Quick Step and the Viennese Waltz.  Somewhere in between the dances, the instructor came up to me and asked if I’d like to give it a try.  My heart jumped and I just wanted to stand up and say yes with a huge smile on my face; however, my nerves got the best of me and all I could say was “No”.

The second half of the class was all Latin dancing (which reminded me of Dirty Dancing, one of my favorite movies may I add).  Now this was really cool!  By this time I was so into the Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba and the Swing that my shield had failed me and my excitement was showing through on my face (this was a rare occasion, by the way).

When class was over, my mom asked if I enjoyed it and my immediate, stubborn response was “No way!”.  And with that we went home.

That night I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had seen and experienced.  I wanted to be the next Baby from Dirty Dancing!  So…….I ended up telling my mom that I will (with a sign) take the classes only because she really wanted me to :)

I will always be thankful for my mom for introducing (forcing) me to ballroom/latin dancing.  I guess moms do know best, at least about this :P

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So, how did you get started in ballroom or latin dancing?  I’d love to hear your story. Feel free to send me a message or leave a comment!

6 Responses to “The Reluctant Ballroom Dancer”

  1. Everett Stowe 12. May, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Yana,

    I enjoyed reading about your introduction into Ball Room Dancing. It’s interesting to see that as we get older, we realize that our parents were not always wrong. In fact we start to realize that a lot of their suggestions had merit, but we were all kids once, and none of us ever listened.

    My first experience with Ball Room Dancing was in Kindergarten. That’s right, I hate to admit it, but here was this 5 year old kid, all dressed up in a suit and dancing with a girl (yuk). Luckily for me, I had two left feet and eventually wound up as the conductor of the schools Orchestra.
    I guess that is part of the problem, boys thought that dancing was stupid while girls thought dancing was beautiful. In truth, us boys did not know how to dance and we were insecure and we felt stupid.

    Now in my 50’s – I took Ball Room Dancing lessons a couple of years ago. I still felt stupid (due to the lack of knowing how to dance). Each time I went to class, I hoped for a private lesson so no one else would see me. It is that lack of confidence that holds us all back from reaching our goals. I was so glad when the first lesson was over – but I had to admit it, I actually liked it (as long as no one was watching). I finished the first series of lessons and (believe it or not) I signed up for a 2nd series. At some point I got side tracked and the school moved locations and I never followed up with it. I wish I had and I plan to try again.

    I will admit, that Ball Room Dancing is fun, it can build confidence in a person, it can also build balance and coordination. I encourage everyone to try it – especially if you have a partner in life. It will give you both something to enjoy ding together.

    Ball Room Dancing is like a conversation between a man and a woman but without words. There is an action and a reaction between the two dancers. When one moves forward, the other reacts and moves with them, interlaced together as one. It’s almost like bonding together, and movement with music as the catalyst. It is an art form in itself.

  2. yana 12. May, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Everett,
    Thank you for your comment and story. I’m glad that you tried ballroom dancing and I’m glad that you did enjoy it :) Let me know when you do decide to try it again, I know of a great studio!!! It’s funny, I think that everyone has felt silly at one point or another when they first start ballroom dancing……but it’s all worth it at the end! Thanks for reading my blog, I really appreciate it!

  3. Leila 12. May, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Hey my pearl!
    I like your story very much. I love ballroom, I love beautiful dresses, hair-do, I LOVE music, sharp
    movement in Latin and slow in Waltz, OOOOOOOOOO I love Tango, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba,
    I love it all. Not much time for me to tell about how good it makes you feel on the dance floor, when everybody
    turns their heads on you, wishing it’s them.

  4. yana 12. May, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Mom,
    I’m glad you like my story. Thank you so much for everything! And yes, I remember how much you absolutely love Tango :)
    ~Yana

  5. Connie 13. May, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Hey girl,

    I really enjoyed your story, Yana. Most would probably have a similar story growing up, as I do. But not all can say, as you can…I enjoyed it so much I continued to dance, continued the music or continued to draw or paint. This is certainly a testiment for parents everywhere to continue to encourage their childrens talents while growning up and beyond. Because you never know what the tide may bring in.

    Good luck, and keep it up.

  6. yana 14. May, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    Hey Connie,

    Thank you for the comment and I’m glad you enjoyed my story :) I completely agree that parents should always encourage their children’s talents while growing up and beyond!!! Support is so important especially from family and close friends.

    ~Yana

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