Thanks goes to my friend, Leslie, for tonight’s first. She invited me to the Tanglefooters Dance Club, located at 1801 W 2nd, Joplin, for a dance lesson. The group was starting a new series this evening, the bolero. I said yes!
My sister Linda accompanied me. Neither of us had ever experienced this particular dance. I’ve only had one other formal lesson in dance and that ended abruptly when I twisted my knee during a turn. I appreciated Linda going with me. Since neither of us had a dance partner, we intended to just watch, or to dance with each other, if we could control our giggles.
We arrived at the dance club at the same time as a thunderstorm. Thunder rumbled overhead and the sound of the rain pelting the metal roof almost drowned out instructors Linda and Paul as they welcomed everyone. I was surprised, first of all, at the number of dancers in attendance. Leslie appeared at my side, pleased that we had shown up. As it turned out, there were a couple of gentlemen present, without dance partners. So, second surprise, Linda and I joined the circle of dancers, ready to learn.
The bolero is a slow tempo Latin dance. In America, it is one of the competitive dances in the American Rhythm ballroom dance category. It has a 4/4 time, with the first step taken on the first beat, then a pause, then steps on beats 3 and 4. It is cued as slow…quick, quick. During the dance the body flows, or rises and falls, like a wave, subtly of course.
I paired up with Roy, and Linda with John, both experienced dancers. I found myself offering apologies before the lesson even began, as this was a very new and different experience for me. Roy quickly put me at ease though, guiding me expertly and offering grace and forgiveness for my missteps. My months of Zumba served me well this evening. Zumba relies on Latin dance moves so that familiarity was helpful, plus Zumba has helped to loosen my hips and knees and give me stamina.
Our instructors taught us five moves tonight and allowed us to practice over and over, with and without music. They were fun to watch and gave clear instructions that were easy to follow. Amazingly, in a 90 minute lesson, I felt like I was getting the hang of the moves. Roy began to give me small corrections, which improved my dancing even more. By the time we danced through all that we had learned this evening, to the beautiful song from Beauty and the Beast, Tale as Old as Time, I was moving more confidently. Roy was gracious to give me extra tips after the formal instruction was over. I tend to move too quickly and he showed me how to slow my movements down and how to bring my arms down slightly, and maintain the proper tension in them.
What a fun evening! I enjoyed the lesson, appreciated my dance partner and during the break, had the pleasure of watching a bolero demonstration by experienced dancers. I am so glad that Leslie invited me to attend and that my sister joined me in this first. She had a fun evening as well. And rather than being observers, we got to be dancers. How cool was that?