Friday, March 5, 2010

Welcome to the Dance

Writing letters back and forth to friends - not just simple functional emails - sometimes will jog my brain into realizations or, at the very least, finding a way to articulate realizations I've felt but not yet verbalized. This bit from a letter-via-email I sent today, stemming from a friend's advice to take two months to stop analyzing things that have gone awry for me, is one that I thought would be worth sharing.

When I went to my swing dance lesson on Tuesday, I kept fretting over not getting my foot movements right. I mouthed "shit!" to myself, and the female instructor saw me do it. She was looking at my feet from across the room the entire time, and so she looked back up at me and mouthed "you're OK" and gave the thumbs up.

Later in the lesson, after being corrected a few times by the male instructor while I was dancing with my partner, he came back to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, "Mike, forget everything I just told you. Just dance how you feel. You've already got it all up in your head, so just go for it." It was a timely echo of what you had said, and it does make sense in a way – it's hard to allow yourself to gradually ease what you've learned into practice if you don't stop studying for a little while. Even my mother had told me that, back when she was working on her master's – "studying too much can be just as bad as not studying enough." I just hadn't yet encountered a situation in real life where I felt it held true for me. Now I have.

...and I was going to end with a profoundly related music video right about now, but the song I was looking for isn't represented anywhere on the 'net as an embeddable video (at least that I could find). Paul McCartney's "Dance Tonight" isn't related to anything I just wrote, other than having the word "dance" in the title and lyrics, but what the hell. This is a damn cool video, one I hadn't seen till today, that totally enhances the song. It's what a good video should do. Dig those ghosts and the nerve-wracked postman as Paul keeps his cool throughout. The ending is the payoff - it's a party I would have loved to attend.

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