Dancing around the issue

I don’t like to dance and I don’t know why.

For many years, I just assumed it was because I’m a guy.

To dance, you must feel the music; you must express yourself.

I don’t like to dance and I don’t know why.

For many years, I just assumed it was because I’m a guy.

To dance, you must feel the music; you must express yourself.

OK, that is too much feeling and too much expressing to admit to out there on a dance floor where everybody is watching you.

But, according the gospel of Billy Joel, “I heard about sex, but not enough; I found you could dance, and still look tough anyway; oh yes, I did.”

There must be something to that since Hugh Jackman is a dancer and the ladies seem to like him. Bruce Springsteen is often found dancing in the dark and we still call him “The Boss”.

Gee, I guess I can’t fall back on the cute “I’m a guy” excuse and I now have to look a little more deeply.

My first experience with dancing was in school when we were expected to remember all of these complicated steps while (shudder) touching a girl. It did not turn out well.

Later on, in high school where I considered even slovenly transvestites to be way out of my league, it was the fear of rejection.

Then, as a young man, I would dance for one reason only (and we all know what that is) and it was worth looking like a fool.

Aha, we are getting close: I am afraid of looking like a fool.

I perceive that I am not good at it, and so I just don’t want to do it.

All of this introspection was forced on me by my daughter. Wren wanted me to come to tango lessons with her at Wood Street Centre.

I suspect it had something to do with the fact that we have to dance at her high school graduation and her mother has informed her of my shortcomings.

I doubt she wants to tango, but she wants me to at least display a modicum of grace.

I’m at that stage of fatherhood where I have nothing more to teach her and am now desperately trying to build fond memories with her before she leaves for university, so I allowed her to be successful at this one thing Daisy has so far not been: I agreed to take a tango lesson with her.

It was fun.

First of all, the room was full of nice, nice people. Those who were just as inexperienced as I am were laughing at themselves, not at me; and those who were better, offered sincere and helpful suggestions.

It really wasn’t long before I was performing some dance steps that looked just like they do in the movies. Ooh, what is that funny feeling … could it be pride?

I still have a long, long way to go, but the puzzle has been cracked: I didn’t like to dance because I was not good at it … but dance lessons make it very possible to get good at it in such a fun way.

And the dance lesson was such a rich social event. The instructors made sure that everyone danced with someone different for each dance. Elevator etiquette just doesn’t wash here.

So, at my age, why is it important to learn to dance?

I find the answer in memories of many family events, over the decades, which involved dancing. It was at weddings, mostly, that I remember watching my aunts and uncles dance together. Those who danced together well had the strongest, most-loving relationships.


So, Daisy, if you are reading this: yes, I will go to dance lessons with you. It will be fun.

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