Sunday, September 23, 2007

An Excess of Left Feet

My name is Bilbo...and I'm a klutz.

As you already know if you've read my profile, or have been reading this blog for long, one of my passions is ballroom dancing. People who know me well are always amazed at this, because two things for which I will never be famous are my sense of direction and my utter lack of coordination...both of which are relatively important for a successful ballroom dancer.

I've managed to do as well as I have in dancing because I've had good teachers and a very patient partner, all of whom have learned to accept that it takes me twice as long to learn patterns as most normal people, and half the time to forget them. I have tried to compensate for poor memory by taking huge numbers of detailed notes: I have a pile of notebooks full of my notes taken during lessons, and three three-ring binders full of the neatly-typed versions of those notes, all of which I study religiously. Unfortunately, it's tough to carry and consult a three-ring binder while actually dancing...not to mention that many of the notes I lovingly take during lessons make absolutely no sense to me when I try to interpret them 24 hours later.

As for coordination, well, the less said, the better. I do eventually learn even complex patterns, but it generally takes quite a while, and I know that I tax the patience of my teachers and of poor, struggling Agnes (whose toes I've stepped on often enough that she's trying to find a place to buy chain mail pantyhose). If a particular pattern requires my left foot to cross behind my right, you can be sure that I will consistently cross right behind left. If I'm supposed to do a left turn, nine times out of ten I'll turn right. I sometimes wish I'd been born coordinated instead of good-looking, ha, ha.

And while I love dancing, I have to admit that I don't enjoy the practice that's required to do it well. My biggest problem with practicing is that I get easily frustrated when I can't get a pattern to work right, or when I can't remember a sequence. The more frustrated I get, the more difficulty I have, until poor Agnes is ready to just take me out and shoot me to put me out of my misery. Or herself out of hers.

But for all that, it somehow always works out. I have enough confidence in my ability to ask strange women (well, stranger than Agnes, anyhow) to dance, and not fear making a total fool of myself. Agnes and I compete in both American and International style ballroom and Latin dance and do pretty well...something I'd never have dreamed of as a geeky klutz standing along the walls of the gym during high-school and college dances.


No ranting or political fulminations for today...just some reflections on a fun pastime I'd never have thought I'd be any good at. Why not try it out yourself? That way, should you happen to be female and in the Washington, DC area, I can ask you to dance!

And I promise you won't need the chain-mail pantyhose.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


1 comment:

Amanda said...

Your passion for dancing really shows in your posts. I'd love to learn how to dance but first, I'll need to accumulate a lot of patience for my husband to slowly wear out hahahaha.