Thursday, March 7, 2013

4 Left Feet

20 plus years gone by. Like many couples, we've talked of dancing countless times but never acted on it. Talk. Nothing but that. So today, if it weren't for Groupon, that's all it would remain but that's not reality now is it?! A few months back, my wife saw a Groupon for "Ballroom Dancing for Two: $35." After reading the fine print, it looked like lessons for 2 for six weeks. After a few chats and texts back and forth, I said "Go for it! Let's do it. I promise nothing, though!" You see...I'm the epitome of the clumsy, non-sports, "White Men Can't Jump" guy. I can run...far...but outside of that, don't ask me to shoot a ball into the basket with ease, play baseball (even though I love that), or just about anything else. If I go to a dance, it's to eat the horderves and keep the chairs warm. I can "slow dance," I suppose, but that's my limit! But hey, I do love a good laugh and holding on to my girl so heck, let's do this.

She bought the Groupon and made the call. Turns out, the place is called "2 Left Feet Dance Studio." Perfect! They know me!! Here's the writeup from the Groupon: "Dancing with a partner can help you reveal your fun and flirty side, display affection for a true love, or show solidarity when battling a gang of fleet-footed street urchins. Learn the tenets of rhythmic warfare with today's Groupon: for $35, you get six weeks of couples' group dance lessons (an $80 value) at 2 Left Feet Dance Studio, redeemable for classes at the Akron, Stow, and Richfield locations. Pam Burton has been instructing limbs and enlightening minds to the elegance of ballroom dancing for more than 20 years. With an accommodating schedule of weekly, one-hour classes, this twirling trainer can teach even the most uncoordinated couples to not break a leg while busting a move. Neophytes learn the basics while building the foundation for any desired ballroom style, including rumba, tango, foxtrot, and waltz. The studio's lessons are casual (low-heeled shoes and jeans instead of stilettos and shiny suits of aluminum foil)." So last Wednesday night, we plugged in the address to our Google Maps app and ended up at a parks and recreation lodge in Stow. Let it begin!

The setting is a parks and rec building, wide open dance floor and about 10-15 couples. It all starts with the men lined up on one side and the women opposite. Pam teaches the steps from the center and we all practice before coming together. Right off the bat last week, she says "We're learning tango!" OK...I'm a fan of "So You Think You Can Dance" on Fox and when I think of tango, I think of black capes, stilettos, powerful music and raging bulls running across the dance floor. "Oh geez," I thought. "This should be interesting." In this large group are veterans, too. These classes run 6 weeks, take a week off, then do it again but only a different style so for a few, this is old hat to them. You can tell who they are, mostly because of their laid back, goofiness on the floor. Clearly...we had better have fun! So on with the steps and learning the basics of tango. We quickly learned what "dance position" is, posture, where our arms and hands go, and some core principles that govern every movement. I lead...she follows. Keep my right arm up, don't slouch, and for goodness sake, hold her close! Offset hips that touch! So within the half hour last week, we were "dancing around the room, hard belly-laughing, and ruining any shine we had on our shoes. Oh my goodness...I've never stepped on her feet more cumulative in the past 20+ years than I have in the past two weeks. But that's OK per Pam. We need to focus on the steps and the non-foot-crushing will come in time. "OK, Pam...I trust you."

Pam is fun. Her method of teaching and demeanor is one that is inviting and not condescending. For a "Type A" like myself who is very much a perfectionist, this environment could tear me up and cause me to sprint to the nearest foxhole and never come out or let me relax, have fun, and actually learn how to dance. The former is what's happening and it's a lot of fun. I did say on the way home last night that we need some ground rules during the 1 hour lessons, namely not to be critical of each other. The hour goes so fast so to be critical and ruin the "mood" just pours grumpiness on an otherwise really happy, fun, and priceless time together. After all, this is not about getting on Fox for the next season of So You Think You Can Dance and it's not about tearing up the floor at the next wedding reception, it's about spending quality time together and learning something new...together...that we both have ZERO experience at! It's totally leaving our comfort zone of running or whatever and stepping out...pun intended. :-)

Last night, we learned our first 16-step tango dance. The previous 3 were 8-step moves but we learned the "Rock Step" last night. Yea...I crushed her feet countless times but it was fun. Through the next week, we'll practice and you know what? I think we have more fun practicing through the house with the tango channel on Pandora than in the class itself, although last night we sure did laugh a lot in class. Our girls are eating it up, too. As soon as the music comes on, they hop on the couch to watch mom and dad clumsily dance around the house. They couldn't care less about our moves...they just like watching us...together. It's more about painting the mural of our family in their eyes and basically nothing about stepping on each others feet to them.

So 35 bucks for 6 weeks of lessons....dang cheap. I can easily see us dropping 80 bucks to continue after we finish this 6 weeks. That's still not expensive, either, if you break it down, and very much worth it. An intangible investment in us...sign me up.

1 comment:

Melissa Cairns said...

I am sold. We want in,too!