My wife and I are taking dance lessons. Again.
My wife, my dancing partner for nearly 37 years now, is an eternal optimist. She still dreams that someday she will have a husband who is a good dancer, and I am hoping that she won’t have to switch husbands for that dream to be realized.
I enjoy dancing. It’s just that God did not give me the tools that make great dancers. My feet are so flat that there is not even the hint of an arch. I run flat footed and standing on my toes has never been easy. And no one ever accused me of being agile. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a klutz and always have been.
Nevertheless, despite my utter lack of any sort of natural ability, I have taken scores of dancing lessons over the years, including ballroom, square and country dancing.
When I was about 12, my mother enrolled me in a ballroom dancing class. She didn’t ask me if I wanted to learn to dance. Taking the class was not optional.
Mom only had two fears regarding my dancing lessons. One was that I would injure myself by tripping over my own feet. That other is that I would injure some little girl by stepping on her toes or even knocking her over simply because she was cursed with the misfortune of being my assigned partner.
While I never admitted it to Mom or my sisters, I secretly enjoyed the class. It was not because of the dancing. It was because the class gave me the chance to actually talk to and even touch a girl who was not one of my three sisters. At that age, I was so shy around girls that the only way I was ever going to actually hold the hand of one was by having her as my partner in dance class.
While I don’t think any of the girls in my class were impressed by my dancing, I am confident that I was not the least favorite dancing partner in the class. You see, there were more girls than boys in the class, forcing some girls to dance with each other. While I am sure that there were other boys that they would rather dance with, I at least was better than dancing with another girl.
Later, I danced a lot at 4-H camp, with most of them being round dances where you moved from partner to partner. Dancing was one of the main reasons I always thought we 4-H kids had it all over Boy Scouts. After all, Boy Scouts only went to camp with other boys; 4-H camp was co-ed, forcing this shy kid to interact socially with young ladies.
In my junior and senior years of high school, I was a member of a 4-H square dance team that performed at the county fair, at civic clubs and even once at the Ohio State Fair. I enjoyed that immensely even though I never dated any of the four girls who were part of that team. I liked them, but only as friends, not girlfriends.
While a student at Morehead State University, I took a class called “Basic Rhythms” to fulfill a P.E. requirement. It turned out to be a dance class. Surprisingly, because of my dancing experience in 4-H, I was one of the better dancers in the class. I think I “aced” the class.
When my wife and I were dating, disco was in, and we regularly went dancing at a club in Nashville that had a great house band. Thus, since the beginning, dancing has been an important to both of us. But just because I enjoy it, doesn’t not mean I am a good dancer. Nevertheless, I keep trying to get better.
For awhile, we were members of the Continental Dance Club and I even spent a year as president. However, for a while we switched from ballroom dancing to country dancing. That required more dancing lessons.
Now we are back to ballroom dancing. We enrolled in a class at the Junior League in Huntington that teaches a different dance style each month. I like swing and waltz, but I’m not into doing the cha-cha or tango. I am so klutzy those styles are dangerous for me and everyone around me.
We now are enrolled in a ballroom dancing class offered through continuing education at Ashland Community and Technical College. To date, we have only had one class, and I admit that I already knew all of the steps taught during it. However, it was a good refresher course for all the dancing classes I have been part of during the last 50 or so years.
I’m still not any good, but I do believe I am getting a little better, and even if I am not particularly graceful, I have an excuse. After all, I’m flat footed. It’s God’s fault that I’m not a better dancer.
JOHN CANNON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (606) 326-2649.
My wife and I are taking dance lessons. Again.
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