Ballroom Dancing Week Two: The Dancers’ Mutiny

We attended our second Ballroom Dancing lesson last night. To get yourself up to speed on the first week’s “disastrous” lesson, click here.

I am happy to report that Week 2 went way, way better than Week 1. I was not looking forward to it in the least, because I was anxiety-ridden about who I was going to have to dance with, but I got into the car nonetheless, without Jim having to drag me by my hair. Jim ended up getting the bad cold I’ve had, so on the way there we schemed to not switch partners, you know, to keep everyone else healthy. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

We arrived 30 minutes before class time, as instructed, to participate in the review of last week’s merengue. Our instructor’s assistant did the review, and I have to say that it was very enjoyable, because she didn’t mention switching partners at all. One thing really got on my nerves, though: she could not start the class on the beat of the music to save her life. For some people, this may not be–and probably isn’t–an issue. However, for me, an aerobics junkie who even cues parts of spin sprints (on the bike) on the eight-count, I was going insane. What was she thinking? This was no way to teach dance: OFF BEAT! Ugh.

But I liked everything else about her so I smoothed the hair on the back of my neck back down and kept dancing. She taught us a really cool hold called a Hammerlock, which I won’t even begin to describe but it was thrilling because it felt like real dancing. Overall, I really, really like the merengue but we only learned a sequence consisting of six 8-count sets. Again, going back to my love of aerobics, this was not enough for me. I could have added on more and more steps and had quite the routine by the end of the hour. A-ha, but it’s not all about me, is it? By the way, Jim is doing great. In fact, here we are, displaying our mad skills with the merengue:

At class time our regular instructor came in, said hello, and got us started right away on the waltz. Much to our (mine and Jim’s) surprise, she said, “I know some of you have expressed that you don’t want to switch partners, so if you don’t want to, you and your partner will need to get at either end of the line so it’s not confusing to those who are switching.”

What? What kind of losers don’t want to switch partners? Oh yeah, us. But it was great that we didn’t even have to say anything on our own: apparently some of the other couples had even more of a problem with it than we did. Hurray!

People shuffled around a bit, and she started teaching us the waltz which, as you probably already know, is a very slow dance. But it is more complicated than the merengue! (to us, anyway) We did okay, but will have to practice to get this one down. It was still really fun. At a certain point in the class, the teacher said, “Okay, those of you who are switching, SWITCH!”

And then a beautiful thing happened. Nobody switched. I got a little teary-eyed about the solidarity we were all displaying, and then as we all laughed, the instructor felt the need to lecture us on why we were making a mistake by staying with one person. She said that when you switch partners you learn the dances faster (I would agree she’s probably right) because any bad habits that you have get worked out with all the different partners instead of stagnating and getting worse with who you stick with. She ended her lecture in a slightly catty way by saying, “So if you just want to learn the dances slower and stick with your bad habits, then just stick with your current partner.” You could hear probably ten people say, under their breath, “sounds good!” or something to that effect. It was quite hilarious. And fun.

I’m even a little sad that we’ll miss next week’s lesson. We have a Lacrosse Banquet to attend: maybe there will be dancing! Anyway, Jim and I had a GREAT time during the hour, and waltzed our way to Coldstone Creamery afterwards to complete our Date Night.


  • Andie

    I’m glad you had a good time this go round!

    I find the waltz to be boring. I’m a big fan of the latin dances.

  • Trish

    Woo hoo on the dancing! As an avid dancer me-self (mostly Latin, so salsa, cha cha, rumba, samba; also swing – West Coast, please – and various country and ballroom dances such as two-step, waltz, nightclub 2, etc) I am so proud that you have stuck with it!

    I’m also not a fan of waltz – not because it’s slow, necessarily (hey, rumba is slow, and definitely not boring! :)) but because I suck at it lol.

    I hate to say it, also, but your instructor is right (I know, I know, STOP WITH THE LECTURING ALREADY lol – and yeh she could have done it without the bi-yatchy attitude). You will learn quicker if you switch. Also, it gives you a chance to dance with someone at a higher level than you (I’m such a dance-whore – love love LOVE dancing with leaders who are better than me, it’s just so much fun). But hey – it’s your choice!

    Oh, and lastly – I hear you on the 8-count issue. It kills me when someone can’t keep a beat (wait until you dance with someone like that – you will want to smack them with your dance shoes); hell, it kills me when someone breaks cha on the one lol. I think I would have had a stroke if I had to sit through that. Oy!

    Anyway – dance on, and have fun! That’s really what it’s about!

  • Michelle

    Yay, on the dancing! You almost have me inspired to give this to my husband for his birthday. Except for that whole two small children thing….

    That’s great that you’re enjoying it. And I’m SOOO with you on the count thing. That’s the one thing that made the belly dancing ok for me the other day — I can count and move at the same time!

    Bummer about the banquet. No makeups?

  • Taj

    I’m not much into the waltz either. Tried it once but it doesn’t work well with combat boots. 😉

    I love that everyone stood united! I completely understand her lecture on switching partners. However, who better to learn slowly with than the love of your life.

  • Dea

    As a former dancer myself (took like 12 years….eep!) and also as a person who has taken ballroom dancing with a friend, and then danced with OTHER trained ballroom dancers – I disagree to a point on the bad habit/learn slower thing. I don’t think it’s true for everyone, AND – quite honestly – it’s not like you’re training for competition. If you were, then more power to her. But honestly – who are you EVER going to dance with??? That’s right – your husband. And they should know that most of the men were talked into it, and thus do not want to dance with anyone else. Nor do they want their wives/girlfriends/significant others seeing them have fun with another person. Not to mention so many people do it as togetherness time.

    So while I can see her point – she’s off the mark when you consider where and who she is teaching.

    As for the 8 count paranoia – yeah, drives me NUTS when someone who is teaching something like dance or aerobics doesn’t have the hang of the 8 count. OY.

    And yeah – no fun dancing with someone who is completely incapable of rhythm. As in, my poor hubby. And he passed that on to our older son. Sigh. I had to count in my hubby’s ear for our wedding! LOL!

    Glad you’re enjoying the dancing – and I’m glad you all stood up to the man! Fight the power! WOOT!

  • Susiewearsthepants

    How brave! I know if I tried something like that, I would fall flat on my face the very first lesson. It sounds like a lot of fun….darn these two left feet.

  • angie goff

    It sounds like you’re catching on. Do you think competitive ballroom dancing is in your future. A friend of mine does it and says in addition to motivate her to be better it’s a fanastic way to keep in shape.

  • Mags

    Oh, this is fantastic. You’re so lucky to be taking classes and I think it’s great that no one wanted to switch! Why change dance partners if you have your very own built in one? Once I find a dance partner I’m never switching ever again.

    Very cool…

  • KathyLikesPink

    Well that sounds like a very successful evening! How funny that NO ONE wanted to switch partners! Yes, the instructor made sense, but I hate the little snarky comment. I would have been annoyed.

  • Melisa

    Trish: Yeah, I totally know she’s right, but I just can’t get over that anxiety. I figure, I’m not trying to be a pro dancer or anything, so I should just have fun…

    Michelle: ooh! Belly dancing! Fun! (and unfortunately, we have to miss two dance classes and can only make up one. Oh well!)

    Taj: I’ll make a note to remember NOT to wear combat boots to dance class. LOL

    Dea: YEAH!~ To all of it! LOL

    Susie: I’m sure you’d be FINE. You should try it sometime!

    Angie: Nope, no pro dancing in my future, although the workout would be awesome, I’m sure!

    Mags: “Once I find a dance partner I’m never switching ever again.” So true, and I LOVE that statement.

    Kathy: I’m wishing you all could have seen the rebellion firsthand!